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Tale of Old Post Office haunting conjured up by restaurant staff

Fiddler's Green Irish Pub, one of the last restaurants to occupy the Water Street historic landmark, had a standout caesar salad, writes Wayne Conrad Serbu

Not that long ago, before it was transformed into the award-winning architectural marvel we all know as the Old Post Office Idea Exchange, the abandoned and deteriorating heritage landmark on Water Street was brought back to life as a destination nightclub.

Living on Grand Avenue in the '80s, I remember the Time Club patio overlooking the Grand River as a perfect place to enjoy warm summer evenings, listening to the sounds of the Grand River flowing by and the chirping nighthawks dancing in the evening sky.

It was a spacious patio, perfect for sipping your favourite libations and having a plate of wings to share with friends.

Greg Forte worked there and he always had interesting stories about the goings on in a building he said was rumoured to be haunted.

Built between 1885-1887, the Galt Post Office was a stunning building that served an important function. The post office, customs, and  government services were on the first and second floors with a small apartment on the third leading to the clock tower.

Today, the building is an all-digital public library, offering breathtaking views of the Grand River and free technology programs for all ages. Each floor in this restored heritage building offers a unique area of exploration, including the Creative Studios, Children’s Discovery Centre, Makerspace, and Riverview Reading Room.

When it was the Fiddler's Green Irish Pub and the Time Club, employees said they would hear the sound of the clock being wound late at night, leading to the story that a postmaster had died in the building and continued to haunt it.

The Fiddler's Green menu featured "Emily's Story," which detailed the rumoured haunting that resulted from a torrid love affair between Emily, a postal employee, and early Postmaster William Turnbull.

Perhaps because their relationship was forced to be kept secret, or because Mr. Turnbull attempted to end the tryst, Emily became agitated and restless. She threatened to go public with their affair, which would have ultimately ruined the reputation of William and bring his career to an end, making some juicy gossip for the local townsfolk to chatter about.

As the story goes, Emily was found hanging from the rafters in the clock tower a few days after they argued and she revealed she was pregnant with his child.

Her death was said by some to be suicide while others were convinced it was murder, suggesting William wanted her silenced.

It turns out this story was completely made up by staff for a Halloween party.

Although the story of Emily is complete fiction, people who've been on some of the city's ghost walks have reported some very strange things at the Old Post Office over the years, from objects that move on their own, to items that disappeared and reappeared in different locations.

Some have said they've been pushed or hit by unseen forces, or even seen full apparitions that disappear without a trace.

Despite the unlikely haunting, the old Galt Post office remains high on a list of haunted places in Galt. 

The many times I dined at Fiddler's Green, the entertainment and the food was first class. My favourite share meal was the chef's tasty Caesar salad and chicken wings. 

Manager Todd Pinnel gave me a tour and told some tales of the old place and chef James gave me the Fiddler's classic caesar salad dressing recipe. 

Crisp romaine lettuce, a few croutons, bacon bits, parmesan cheese and a squeeze of lemon made this simple salad worthy of my compliments to the chef!

Don't forget to visit the Idea Exchange for Halloween and catch the laser light show.

Caesar Salad

Ingredients Needed

1/2 cup virgin olive oil.

2 tbsp. Hellman's mayonnaise.

1 tbsp. grainy Dijon mustard.

3 garlic cloves , finely minced.

1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan cheese

1 1/2 tbsp. minced anchovy.

2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice.

2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce.

salt and pepper to taste

Using a hand whisk, add ingredients to a bowl and mix well.

Now add.

2 cups chopped romaine lettuce

2 tbsp. toasted bread croutons 

1 tbsp. crispy parma ham or bacon.

Toss the crisp lettuce and dressing, adding as much or as little as you like. Add a liberal sprinkling of parm cheese and a squeeze of lemon.

Dig in!  

Chef Wayne Conrad Serbu writes monthly for CambridgeToday. The former executive chef also shares recipes and memories from his more than five decades in the hospitality industry on his blog, the kitchenman.