The stories at what is now Burnaby Art Gallery abound about a woman who casts a pale blue light. Some claim to feel sadness when beholding the quiet figure as she glides about the silent halls. But still there are unquiet rumors of a vicious and vengeful apparition. Could this apparition belong to Mrs. Grace Ceperley, the original owner of the house? She’s been depicted in recent televised programs as a woman who chased all and sundry out of the house, but was she simply a woman in love with her home and not wanting to leave it? Fairacres is situated on the northwest slopes of Deer Lake in Burnaby, British Columbia. Its English countryside style is oddly at home amidst the cedars and pines of Canada’s west-coast rainforest.
Standing at Fairacres, one feels awe and certainly the presence of someone within, quietly watching—perhaps passing the upper windows, momentarily pausing, and wondering about us below. Prior to the city of Burnaby purchasing this fine old home to serve as a gallery, no accounts of hauntings had ever been reported, though certainly the estate has had its share of colorful residents. Several families have called the mansion home, including a Catholic group of missionary monks who had a rectory within these old, vine-covered walls. The most remarkable group residing here was a religious cult calling themselves “Temple of the More Abundant Life,” but they were finally ousted when reports of abuse and other complaints began to surface. None of these claims were ever legally validated. It was after the home was converted to a gallery that reports started happening. People reported seeing a woman in pale blue moving about the hall. Marisa Ferrari, one of the office staff, heard monastic chanting and saw a bright white flash of light near the foyer where she worked. Caterers reported seeing the apparition of a young girl at the top of the inner stairwell, and the Vancouver Paranormal team experienced a large, crackling blue flash while in that very stairwell. Coat hangers have been flung about the kitchen floor during a brief time when the staff were called to another room. Loud crashes have been reported without cause, and doors have jammed and locked. Without fail, whenever the gallery seems to be too loud from one activity or another, the fire sprinklers turn on. Workmen in the lower basement have reported that their laid-out tools were replaced on their hooks while their backs were merely turned. Playful pranks or malevolent menace? Maybe you should visit the home and ascertain this for yourself. Having been through the entire house with gadgets and gears, we can tell you it is certainly haunted. The attic alone will transport you back decades, and the old smells are like perfume to the enthusiastic ghost hunter. Mrs. Ceperley seems to be no avenging wraith, no harridan of evil, but a quiet spirit who simply loves her home.
—Jan Gregory Founder, Vancouver Paranormal
FAIRACRES/BURNABY ART GALLERY 6344 DEER LAKE AVENUE BURNABY, BRITISH COLUMBIA V5G 2J3 PHONE: 1 (604) 205-7332 WEBSITE: www.city.burnaby.bc.ca/ cityhall/departments_parks/ prksrc_fclts_gllrya.html
Taken from the: Encyclopedia of Haunted Places -Ghostly Locales from around the World – Compiled & Edited by Jeff Belanger – Copyright 2005 by Jeff Belanger