Uncovering the Ghosts of the Plaza

Writers seeking help from community for Interactive performance in November.

Sarah Smith and Sadie Forbes hunt for ghosts in the Plaza Hotel's furnace room.

Sarah Smith and Sadie Forbes hunt for ghosts in the Plaza Hotel's furnace room.

There’s no doubt that the 100-year-old Plaza Hotel on Government Street has a few ghosts inside. Just ask Sarah Smith.

Smith’s nine years as a bartender and server at Monty’s Showroom Pub have offered her a first-hand look at the bowels of this historic hotel, which has changed immensely since it was built as The Westholme Hotel in 1911.

“One of our bouncers refuses to go down here anymore,” says Smith, as she gives me the tour of the dark and enigmatic space. “Things just keep moving around.”

Long-time patrons and employees share numerous accounts of ghost sightings and mysterious happenings in the space on a regular basis and now, with the help of burlesque dancer Rosie Bitts and research assistant Sadie Forbes, the Ghosts of the Plaza will come to life.

The three ladies are writing an interactive performance about the ghosts, both literal and figurative, of the Plaza Hotel, which is due to close over the next few months and be redeveloped by Vancouver-based GMC Projects Inc.

“We’re losing a really iconic place,” says Smith. “It’s the end of an era.”

While Forbes has had some success uncovering information about the hotel at the provincial archives and through other sources, she’s seeking help from the community in the form of stories about the space, whether they’re about the Westholme, The Century Inn, or any of the many pubs, bars, coffee shops and more that occupied space in the four-storey building.

Funded in part by the Victoria Spirit Committee in conjunction with Victoria’s 150th anniversary, Ghosts of the Plaza is scheduled to premiere in early November.

Anyone who is interested in telling their story can reach Forbes at 250-588-7233, by email info@ghostsoftheplaza.com, on facebook (facebook.com/GhostsOfThePlaza) or at ghostsoftheplaza.com. M

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Joy Sharpe holds a picture of her late husband Ray while posing for a photograph with the Sybil Andrews painting ‘hauling’ before donating it to the Campbell River Hospice Society. (Submitted photo)
$6 painting turned into $10,000 charity windfall

A 1952 original Sybil Andrews painting donation fetches Campbell River Hospice Society a nice return

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Sara Lopez Assu says she’s relatively happy with how the Campbell River Art Gallery team managed to weather the storm that was 2020. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Art Gallery director reflects on ‘maybe our hardest year ever’

‘It would be easy to look back and be disappointed … but that’s not going to get us anywhere’

Jean Crowder, former MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, is the CVPAG honourary chair. (Submitted)
Art gallery group becomes registered charity in step towards realizing Duncan dream

Becoming a registered charity enables the CVPAG to greatly expand its potential donor base

From left to right; Jessica Kelly; Allaina Moore; Ben Rosnau; and Isaiah McAleese. Members of the ECHO Players Youth Group after they performed ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Ives, in May 2019. (submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach youth theatre group looks at more livestream performances in 2021

Members stay active during pandemic with playwriting competitions and online play readings

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s Jacana No. 1 is among the paintings she’ll have on display in her upcoming show at the Nanaimo Musuem. (Photo courtesy Shawnda Wilson)
Painting exhibit inspired by long-toed birds and jazz coming to Nanaimo Museum

Nanaimo artist Shawnda Wilson’s show ‘When Charles Speaks’ opens next week

Most Read