Local hauntings – l’Île-Perrot restaurant gone – are its ghosts gone too?
PHOTO BY DAMON JAMES ROLOFF
A vacant plot of land is all that remains of the once landmark Île-Perrot restaurant Le Vieux Kitzbuhel but have the ghosts disappeared along with the structure?
This is the last installment in our series of some of the local supernatural folklore. Anyone with an interest in the occult knows about the most infamous haunted houses in Vaudreuil-Soulanges but local legends tell much more than just ghost stories. The area is also known for its tales of werewolves, sorcerers, pacts with the devil, cursed battlegrounds and other spooky things.
It may not be on a stop along the roadmap to the Greater Montreal’s best haunted attractions, but Île-Perrot used to be home to one of the region’s most notorious haunted locations.
Some readers will have fond memories of Le Vieux Kitzbuhel Restaurant and while most will remember its great terrace and Sunday brunch, others will remember it for its ghosts.
Both patrons and staff knew about the strange happenings in the basement and on the second floor of the old building. The staff was said to shun the basement as much as possible and a small room on the second floor was known for furniture moving on its own.
In the 17th century, Île-Perrot was primarily known as the hub for the regional illegal fur trade. An actual fur trading post was built in 1675 facing Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue. It was eventually destroyed during an Iroquois attack after 1684. It is hard to establish whether the restaurant was actually built on the same site, but the general area of the cove has seen its share of bloody conflicts over the years. It should come as no surprise then that many say it is haunted.
I’ve interviewed four persons who witnessed strange events there. Three were employees; the fourth one was a regular client. A housekeeper reported seeing ghosts in the basement on several occasions while she would iron tablecloths. She was not bothered otherwise by the ghosts, like the other employees. She said she would simply talk to the ghosts, and that they would leave her to her work.
In another event around the same time, a kitchen help had the scare of her life when she had to go down to the basement for supplies. When she arrived in the basement, she noticed a man standing there. “He was wearing old-style clothes,” she explained (from what I gathered from her attempt at describing his clothing, she possibly meant a period costume). He did not speak, but he smiled at her. She smiled back, but then the blood froze in her veins when she realized he was intangible and that she could see through him. She ran out of there screaming and never went back to work.
Another employee reported a strange sensation like a warm wave moving through him as he walked down those same stairs. There were no open windows, no heat vent or fan anywhere near the area that could account for the sensation.
The patron who experienced unexplained events was a customer who frequented the restaurant weekly over several years. She reported repeated instances of one of the restrooms’ door seeming to have a life of its own. In one instance, the door could not be unlocked, and she had to call for help.
There are several other testimonials of strange happenings from both staff and customers at Le Vieux Kitzbuhel. I frequented the restaurant regularly over a 20-year period. I wandered the second floor and even the basement on some occasions and except for a vague feeling of foreboding on the second floor, I never experienced anything out of the ordinary. Unfortunately, whatever ghost stories about the restaurant there are, they are all we are going to get; Le Vieux Kitzbuhel closed its doors forever in 2012, and it was demolished in 2018. Whether its supernatural residents have moved on, or they are still haunting the grounds, waiting for a new home to be built on that location, is anyone’s guess at this point.