The Victoria Golf Club is one of the city’s historical gems and the site of a famous ghost story. It’s also very scenic, located oceanside and within the upscale municipality of Oak Bay. Established in 1893, it’s the oldest golf course in Canada remaining in its original location and the second oldest in North America! Even the clubhouse, completed in 1923, is a registered Canadian Historical Site, although it has been renovated and expanded many times since.
Playing this renowned course, the fresh salt air and picturesque surroundings must be somewhat of a distraction. Draped over the rocky shores of Gonzales Point, sea breezes buffet and views of the Trial Islands and across the waters of Haro Strait and Juan de Fuca Strait to the mountains of mainland British Columbia and Washington state vie for your attention. It takes a certain dedication to the sport and keen focus on the task at hand!
All bets on playing well may be off if you encounter one of the most famous apparitions in Victoria – the April Ghost. Her story is a tragic tale of love gone awry. In 1936, young Doris Gravlin was murdered by her estranged husband. His body was discovered in the water a month later, an apparent suicide.
There the story should end, but Doris is clearly not at rest… She appears regularly to astonished golfers and those walking or driving through the area, sometimes in daylight hours! If you are visiting the Victoria Golf Club and see a young woman in a brown suit of decidedly old-fashioned looking style, or a long white dress, don’t be surprised if she rushes towards you and then suddenly vanishes.
This ghostly apparition hasn’t affected the popularity of the Victoria Golf Club, if anything, she lends an air of mystery to an already storied Victoria institution.