Prince Albert's Kinsmen Park, which may be best known for its water slides and barbecue pits, may have a dark side according to an article published by Haunted Rooms.
The article names Kinsmen Park the sixth most haunted place in the province due the jail which was located near the park's current grounds in the early-1900s. Eighteen of the prisoners there were sentenced to be hanged, and Michelle Taylor with the Prince Albert Historical Society said some of those men were buried on what are now the park's grounds.
"If you were hanged and you were not claimed by a family member or a member of the community, you would be buried on jail ground," Taylor said.
The first territorial jail was built in 1891 and was located just north of the current Court of Queen's Bench. A second jail was built in the early 1920s and was located just off 28th St. E. where an apartment building now stands. The land in between was all jail property and was used mainly for agriculture purposes. According to Haunted Rooms, the last five people hanged at the jail were buried on the grounds and if visitors to the park listen close enough, they can hear the voices of the dead men. Taylor, on the other hand, said she personally has not heard of any paranormal encounters in the park.
The last person known to be hanged in Prince Albert was John Wilson, a former member of the North West Mounted Police. In 1912 he left his family in Scotland and came to Canada. While working for the NWMP he became sick with tuberculosis and fell in love with the woman who took care of him. When Wilson's wife came over from Scotland, Wilson killed her so he could marry his mistress. He was convicted and hanged in April, 1923, and was buried at the South Hill Cemetery.
Another of the men hanged at the jail was Hoo Sam, who was actually buried on the park's grounds. In the year 1900 Sam immigrated to Canada from China and opened a restaurant in Prince Albert’s downtown nine years later. At some point he suspected his associate Mark Yuen was stealing money from the restaurant, and Sam went out and bought a gun. Sam later shot and killed Yuen in the back lane of the restaurant. After the gunshot, another man working at the store, Mark Yin, went outside to see what had happened. When he saw Sam coming towards him with the gun, Yin tried to run away. Sam gave chase and the two men raced along 10th St. with Sam firing several unsuccessful shots. The chase ended on Central Ave. in front of City Hall (now the Arts Centre) where Yin was shot. At this point a bystander got involved and helped restrain Sam until police arrived.
Sam was hanged on March 26, 1912. The gun he used to kill Yuen remains on display at the Prince Albert Police and Corrections Museum.
paNOW visited the park on Wednesday and encountered a few people who had heard the ghost stories. One jogger said she never travels through the park alone at night.
On Twitter: @nigelmaxwell
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