Ghost-hunting duo look for spectres and spirits in notoriously “haunted” properties in Niagara, Hamilton and other parts of Ontario


Published January 30, 2024 at 3:42 pm

ghosting cbc hamilton niagara-on-the-lake haunted ghosts
Luke Hutchie (left) and Matthew Finlan (right), star in CBC's new Ghosting series

When Luke Hutchie (EZRA) and Matthew Finlan (EZRA, Orphan: First Kill), two Canadian actors with big personalities who are more than familiar with all things scary, ventured into the Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake to look for the ghosts of two murder victims and their killer, they found a wine-loving centipede instead.

And when they went into Auchmar Manor in Hamilton to seek out spirits, they found unsettling pictures of rotund nuns with cows. 

But that doesn’t mean the ghosts, should they exist, weren’t there–or that otherworldly beings aren’t currently floating through the halls of the eight supposedly haunted properties that Hutchie and Finlan toured as part of their brand new Ghosting series, an unscripted show that premiered on CBC Gem earlier this month.

The “problem”–if you can even call it that–is that Finlan, 29, and Hutchie, 27, seldom agree on whether any of the properties are really haunted. That said, Hutchie says that finding ghosts isn’t really the point of a series that explores notoriously spooky Ontario properties in Alliston, Cornwall, Kingston, Picton, Baden, Fergus, Orillia, Niagara-on-the-Lake and Hamilton.

“I think the way that the show became what it is has almost nothing to do with ghosts,” Hutchie told

“We could be working at, like, a contracting company and it would be the same type of situation. ‘Like can they, you know, build a house? The premise of the show is, you know, the stupid things you do with your friends when no one’s watching.” 

Hutchie says the difference, of course, is that people are watching and the objective of the show, which doesn’t take itself seriously and peppers spooky tales and historical facts with jokes, sarcasm and a lot of laughter, is to “prove” the existence of ghosts.

What makes it even more fun is that neither of the hosts nor their special guests really know what they’re doing when it comes to seeking out spirits.

“[People see] these people who have absolutely no, like, training, research, understanding, knowledge. Basically, absolutely no idea what they’re doing, and their mission is to find out whether or not this place is haunted or not.” 

But while neither Hutchie nor Finlan knew much about ghost hunting before launching the series, both know the horror genre well. In fact, the pair first met while working on EZRA, a show Hutchie created about a killer gay vampire who attempts to live in the modern world. 

The pair decided to explore their penchant for real-life horror shortly after an ill-fated trip to Alcatraz with fellow performer Bukola Ayoka of Robyn Hood fame (Ayoka is also a guest on the episode where the duo seek out ghosts at Merril House in Picton).

“Luke came with me to a movie premiere in San Francisco and [he learned] that Alcatraz is off the shore and we became hell-bent on trying to get there but with like three hours’ notice. These trips need to book people six months in advance, so the best we could do was this little wooden dinghy that kind of got us halfway there,” Finlan told 

After “everything went wrong,” the Canadian trio, giddy from the adventure, started pretending they were filming a paranormal investigation once they were back on shore. 

“It just kept making us laugh and the idea was so good and we ran with it and then one week later, we shot a proof of concept at a haunted Airbnb in Penetanguishene and we pitched the idea to CBC. Yeah, the rest is kind of history because here we are,” he says. 

Finlan, more of a believer in the supernatural than Hutchie, says he’s always been interested in the paranormal.

“I’ve always had a fascination with the paranormal and ghosts. You know, growing up as a little annoying theatre kid, they say every theatre has a ghost. From a very young age, I was comfortable with the idea of spirits being around and I love watching paranormal shows. Our show is kind of, for all intents and purposes, a parody of or a satire of these shows.”  

As for how they selected their haunted destinations, Hutchie says they did most of their research on TikTok. 

“TikTok and Google, they did us right,” says Finlan.

“We wanted to give audiences a variety of places. Grand, huge spaces like the SDG Jail [in Cornwall] or the Orillia Opera House…and smaller places like the Merrill House or the McDonald Cabin in Alliston. We want to give audiences a good mix.” 

Both agreed that of all the properties they toured, Hamilton’s Auchmar Manor–a mansion built in 1852 that’s considered the last surviving country estate on Hamilton Mountain–was the scariest. 

That episode included Burlington performer Katie Douglas (Ginny & George, Pretty Hard Cases). 

The manor, last owned by the Hungarian Sisters of Social Service, who used the house as a convent, featured some memorable artwork. 

“Auchmar Manor felt really scary,” Finlan says. 

The Hungarian Sisters of Social Service were the last people to have the house and they had it for over 50 years and they didn’t touch one wall of paint. You have the original crown moulding and the paint is starting to peel. There are places that feel preserved in time and then there are places that feel forgotten in time and Auchmar feels forgotten in a beautiful way.”

Hutchie is still fascinated by the unusual paintings of nuns and cows. 

“The one thing that lingers is why there was a mural of cows and nuns in the basement. We never figured out where it came from. Why was it there? How long has it been there? It could have been there from like the 50s or 60s. I don’t know and that, to me, something about that is sinister.” 

Hutchie and Finlan also explored another well-known Ontario haunt (pun intended): The Olde Angel Inn in Niagara-on-the-Lake.

A popular pub and hotel in NOTL’s downtown core, the historic building is believed to have been built around 1789. According to the pub’s official website, the inn was burned during the War of 1812 and rebuilt in 1815. The ghost story associated with the restaurant is that of Captain Colin Swayze, a Canadian militia officer who was killed at the inn in 1813. Legend has it that Swayze stayed in town to spend some time with his lover, a woman who reportedly worked at the pub. 

When American soldiers arrived, he reportedly hid in an empty barrel in the cellar, where he was ultimately killed.

During the episode, which also features Zoé De Grand Maison (Orphan Black, Riverdale), Hutchie and Finlan try to converse with the ghosts of the late barmaid, Captain Swayze and his killer. 

In order to do that, they whip out a few tools designed to connect with ghosts, including ghost balls, an Ouija board (also referred to as a spirit board), and a REM Pod. As for how they selected their equipment, Finlan says they consulted with paranormal experts.

“In addition to TikTok and Google and watching what other shows do, we were consulting paranormal teams across the province and the country. Phantoms of Yore and the Ontario Paranormal Society were helpful. Audiences really do get to learn how to ghost hunt alongside us. Or learn what not to do by watching us,” he says.

Hutchie says some mistakes were made.

“There’s also times where things are being used wrong or pronounced wrong and it’s just.. it’s just fun.” 

Ultimately, the pair say the show is about having fun and highlighting both Canadian landmarks and Canadian talent. 

“It’s just a really fun way of celebrating Canadian talent in a way that has not been done before because we’re able to bring these celebrity guests in and really, you know, bring attention to ‘oh, that person is Canadian, that person is Canadian, and oh, I didn’t know that show was filmed here,’” says Hutchie. 

“It’s a really great way of kind of rejuvenating, you know, what Canadian entertainment looks like. The show is very built within that MTV/early 2000s style of fun that CBC took and completely morphed and reimagined. The show is definitely fun, that’s the word I would use. But also, it’s a great way of showcasing the country in a way that I don’t think has been done before, in my opinion.” 

As for what the future holds. Hutchie and Finlan say it’s too early to say what’s next for Ghosting, but both hope it resonates with audiences.  

“I definitely see EGOT status in 10 years’ time,” Finlan jokes.

“No, I would love to just keep this show. When you boil it down, it was making something really fun with friends and family and I would love to just keep doing that. I think that that would be a beautiful future if in ten years time, I could still be making something as stupid as Ghosting with the support of people like Luke, like the CBC, that would be such a blessing.”

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