Got $925,000? You can buy a haunted hotel & saloon in an Alberta ghost town

·3 min read
In the early 1900s, the community of Wayne had 2,500 residents, whose work was primarily related to 12 active coal mines in the area. The hotel and saloon were built 108 years ago. (Heather VanDyk/ReMax Now - image credit)
In the early 1900s, the community of Wayne had 2,500 residents, whose work was primarily related to 12 active coal mines in the area. The hotel and saloon were built 108 years ago. (Heather VanDyk/ReMax Now - image credit)

It was once the set for the Jackie Chan movie Shanghai Noon — and now you have a chance to own it.

The Last Chance Saloon and Rosedeer Hotel were built in 1913 in Wayne, Alta., now a ghost town about 150 kilometres northeast of Calgary.

The historic hotel is one of the oldest remaining in the province, and the saloon is a frequent stop for thirsty tourists. The property has endured the passage of time as a popular destination for those travelling through Alberta's badlands.

It's also said to be haunted.

And for an asking price of $925,000, the building is now up for sale, but owner Dave Arsenault told the Calgary Eyeopener on Wednesday that he remains attached to it.

Patrons enjoy a meal at the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alta., on Sept. 19.
Patrons enjoy a meal at the Last Chance Saloon in Wayne, Alta., on Sept. 19.(Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

"I know there's a big responsibility here, just keeping up the historic value of the place going," Arsenault said.

"We're the last remaining building from the old glory days … so it's really an important location in Drumheller."

Property remained as coal mining faded

In the early 1900s, the community of Wayne had 2,500 residents, whose work was primarily related to 12 active coal mines in the area.

The hotel and saloon were built in the "serene and beautiful" Rosebud River Valley about 108 years ago, under a different name, and nourished and housed miners through the boom years, Arsenault said.

Eventually, the coal mining industry faded. But the property remained.

Arsenault became part of its history when he bought it eight years ago.

The hotel and saloon are in the Rosebud River Valley, which Arsenault describes as serene and beautiful.
The hotel and saloon are in the Rosebud River Valley, which Arsenault describes as serene and beautiful.(Heather VanDyk/ReMax Now)

He put his own spin on the place — fixing up the hotel rooms, decorating with historical memorabilia, and using the saloon as a venue to celebrate a passion for live music.

However, circumstances have changed for Arsenault, who said the property is no longer viable for him because of a divorce. And there are other factors, too.

"I am getting old, and we are quite busy," Arsenault said.

Musicians, mediums and paranormal groups

For now, it's still business as usual at the hotel, which is open under Alberta health guidelines during COVID-19.

Arsenault is saddened knowing he will eventually leave it behind but said it's a viable business — and a huge draw for musicians and show-goers.

It's also a popular spot for paranormal groups and mediums on the hunt for a brush with the supernatural.

"There's still all kinds of energy here, and we feel it all the time," Arsenault said.

"I've had my own experiences. Like pipe tobacco — I smell that in our former billiard room every now and then, and there's no reason for that.

"And just things out of the corner of your eye, and a female spirit is what I seem to see every now and again."

However, Arsenault isn't worried ghosts could deter a prospective buyer.

"To be honest, that's added value," he said. "People do come for that."

With files from the Calgary Eyeopener.

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