This story takes place in the Summer of 2004, I believe it was mid July. It had been a pleasant day, my brother and I were out for a walk during lunch time (we lived together at the time), just talking and not really up to anything. I was 25 years old and my brother 22. At these ages of perhaps much self-speculation and of criticizing the world around us, we had been talking a lot about the reality of God, reincarnation and very many other things we believed in and thought fascinating.
Sitting down on the wide "artistic" steps by an interestingly shaped art piece -- a sculpture of a man and woman in an embrace, yet very Picasso like -- we entered again into conversation and people watching. Those steps are right in the heart of downtown Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, and being the capital, very many government buildings and workers caught our eyes. We were at Bank and Sparks street. I believed we both were still smoking at that time, so we lit up and then something very peculiar arrested our attention.
Walking under the narrow rain shelter that protected a row of shops situated beneath a stretched government building, a very unusual person appeared. It was a man appearing in his 40s, but he was very much out of place! As he was heading east, he was coming toward us, and we both had time to get a very good look at him, his face and details of his attire. The man was dressed in clothing from the 1800s! He had thick, black, curly hair that almost looked like a wig. His face was pale and troubled; he was very much in deep thought, oblivious to everything and everyone around him. He wore yellow-tan clothes with same-colored light coat. His shirt had elaborate buttons and finesse, his pants seemed to stop at the knees, and white socks came up all the way to the knees.
My brother and I stared at him, and I asked him, "Do you see that guy there?" I heard a quiet "yes," and we both couldn't keep our eyes off of him. This person, did not belong here! My thoughts raced, and only two possibilities came up: either this man was dressed for a play and was walking around for some air (doubtful), or he indeed was a "living" walking ghost! What was more, not a single person other than my brother and I seemed to notice him. We were the only ones looking at him, and he indeed demanded some sort of attention. This confirmed my suspicion that this was very much out of the ordinary!
Now, Sparks street has had its own unique history. In fact, if ever you were to tour the Nation's Capital and found yourself on Sparks, and came to where Sparks Street meets Elgin, you would find a special attraction, the "home-base" of the Haunted Walk of Ottawa tour. Suddenly thinking of this, I wondered indeed about what was going on.
Well, as this man came to the edge of the covered shelter, a very strange thing occurred: A seagull flew right toward him, inches from his face, and let out a screech, as if to say, Look at this poor soul! The man did not seem to notice the bird, and walked toward Wellington street, right where Parliament Hill is located. Instead of going there -- he looked the politician certainly -- he walked further east toward the Rideau Centre direction, and we lost sight of him.
Awe-struck, we both looked at each other for the first time since we had first sighted this out-of-place character, and began saying how we were the only ones to have seen him. Yes, a ghost from the past, a century and more gone by, walking in 2004 in broad daylight! Well, the story isn't over yet.
A few weeks later, I was out for a soul-searching walk, and I happened upon Sparks Street again, another weekday, walking eastbound. Without even realizing it whatsoever, I found myself walking -- tracing -- the exact same path the ghost had taken. As I got to the end of the shelter, a pigeon flew right by my face and let out a loud squawk! I was dumbfounded, wondering what this was all about! Did I have a link to the ghost I saw? What did it mean?
As for our mystery ghost... I was too dumb to put it together until my wife recently enlightened me. She laughed and said, "Don't you know that was the famous politician, Thomas D'Arcy McGee?" For the American readers who may not know, T.D. McGee was a Father of Confederation, a 1st Member of Parliament in 1867. He was assassinated on Sparks Street in 1868. It begs the question, was he indeed who I saw? I am sure of it. Does this great, yet poor soul not know he is dead, or did he return in a past form to show my brother and I something? To the day, I am awestruck by it all.