What better way to get into the spirit of Halloween than by planning a ghoulish getaway? Canadian ghost-chasers, take note: You need not grab your passport, only your lantern. Here are some of the best Halloween haunts right here in Canada:
St. John’s Haunted Hike, N.L.
Cloaked guides walk travellers through St. John’s dark alleys and laneways and into the history-steeped downtown area, and if you’re lucky, you’ll get caught in the misty fog that “drifts off the North Atlantic.”
During the 75-minute nighttime walk, which begins and ends at the Anglican Cathedral on Church Hill, travellers hear horrific, and true, stories only.
“St. John’s has many hidden cemeteries, there’s a lot of public hangings, duel fighting – lots of reports of ghosts and creepy sounds,” travel expert Kathy Buckworth told CTV’s Your Morning in a recent interview.
Indeed, even just the website description of the hike is enough to send shivers down anyone’s spine: “Vengeful lovers, murdered soldiers, and mysterious fires await those who are brave enough to explore the secrets that lie in wait in the St. John’s darkest corners.”
Plains of Abraham, Quebec City, Que.
The famous battlefield was the site of the Battle of Quebec on Sept. 13, 1759 in the Seven Years’ War in which the British Army scaled the walls in Quebec City to defeat the French Army to take over that part of the country. Buckworth said the spirits from that fateful battle have been known to haunt the site.
Buckworth says that every year around Sept. 13, people visiting the Plains of Abraham report smells of sulphur, cannon roars, gunshots and “all kinds of creepy noises” that may be a spiritual recreation of the historic battle.
Keg Mansion, Toronto, Ont.
The Keg Mansion in downtown Toronto was originally built for the McMaster family, whose patriarch William McMaster was a prominent Toronto businessman in the 1800s. It was later sold to another prominent Toronto family, the Masseys. Their oldest daughter Lilian renamed it Euclid Hall. When she passed away, one of her servants was so upset that she hanged herself in the front foyer, said Buckworth, who added the hanging may have also had something to do with a rumoured affair with one of the Massey men. Today, the mansion, a heritage building, is a steakhouse restaurant owned and operated by the Keg.
“When you visit there now, (there are) many reports of the women’s washroom doors locking themselves, the sound of a woman crying, the noise of children’s footsteps on the second floor from when it used to be a family home,” Buckworth said. “So kind of a cool Halloween dinner spot.”
Fort Garry Hotel, Winnipeg, Man.
The lovely but imposing structure was built as a Grand Trunk Railway hotel in 1913 and supposedly has one of the most haunted rooms in Canada: Room 202.
There, a bride is said to have hanged herself after receiving news of her husband dying in a car crash. “So (there have been) numerous reports of blood coming down the walls, the sounds of a woman crying and roaming the halls of this hotel,” Buckworth said. “I have stayed there, and I have to tell you: it’s a little scary.”
Naturally, room 202 is a popular spot, Buckworth said, and you must book it in advance.
Banff Springs Hotel, Alberta
Imagine trying to catch a good night’s sleep in this place.
Banff Springs Hotel has a “beautiful setting and such an eerie past,” Buckworth said.
Buckworth said one of the hotel’s “great rumours” is that a bride who died falling down the grand stairway still inhabits the hotel.
“There was also a family murdered in room 873, That’s the room you want there,” she added.
And if you think it couldn’t get any scariest, the spirit of a longtime bellman who worked there for many years is said to roam the hallways in full uniform.
“And there have been reports of him,” Buckworth said. “Still working – who says you have to quit when you die?”
This post was first published over at CTVnews.ca , where you can see more of Kathy as their Your Morning’s regular travel contributor.