Did you know that our nation’s capital is a hotspot for paranormal activity? The most historic cities often harbour the darkest pasts. Tag along on a Haunted Walk to visit the locations and landmarks that are home to Ontario's most infamous ghosts.
This year the Haunted Walk is celebrating 20 years of tours in three of Ontario’s oldest cities: Ottawa, Kingston and Toronto. The Haunted Walk offers a number of themed tours tailored to the unique histories of these three cities.
On the eve of Halloween, my fellow bloggers and I decided that it was the perfect night to hit the streets for a Haunted Walk. It was a cold, dreary evening (I say that reluctantly considering the weather we’re experiencing now) when we met up downtown, full of angst and hope for a spectral encounter.
We decided that we would go on the Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa, as it focuses on Ottawa’s most famous ghost stories in the downtown core. You too can participate in the Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa from April-November for roughly $21.75 per person. Many of the stories we’ve chosen to blog about were actually influenced by the tales we heard on this walk.
The tour began with a story about the uncovering of human remains belonging to 79 bodies during construction of the LRT in downtown Ottawa in 2013 and 2014. It turns out there was once a massive, poorly-marked graveyard that existed where the city sits now. We’re likely still walking over the remains of many more who established the original city of Bytown.
We continued on, stopping at the mysterious fountain in Confederation Park, which was imported from Trafalgar Square in London. The fountain, along with its twin, had been salvaged after the Blitz. One of the fountains ended up in Regina, Saskatchewan, while the other sits here in Ottawa. It is unknown which of the two fountains is haunted. To learn more about the fountain’s mysterious happenings, read The Twin Fountains of Trafalgar Square.
Next, we gathered in front of the iconic Fairmont Château Laurier where the Ghost of Charles Melville Hays is said to reside. Hays was the hotel’s commissioner who died tragically in the sinking of the RMS Titanic in 1912. If you dare, read Hays Haunts Hotel Halls for more information.
We visited Ottawa’s most haunted school, Lisgar Collegiate Institute. It’s still unknown whether their ghost is that of the head girl who was killed by falling ice, or the janitor who fell from the roof. If you want to delve deeper, read The Haunted Heights of Lisgar Collegiate Institute.
We walked along the world-famous-waterway, the Rideau Canal, which took the lives of approximately one thousand workers during its construction. When bodies began to pile up, oftentimes they would dig mass graves along the Canal Bed. To learn more about the Canal’s somber past, read Loss and Locks: The Dark Side of the Rideau Canal.
If you’re feeling spooky this Christmas and looking for a last-minute activity in Ottawa to get you out of the house, check out the Haunted Walk's Nightmare Before/After X-mas! Explore Christmas themed ghost stories and win presents at the Bytown Museum, one of Canada’s oldest and most haunted buildings.
The Haunted Walk is a great group activity for friends and family, skeptics included and encouraged! The Haunted Walk is sure to bring everyone closer together, a step-on-each-others-feet, hop-into-each-others-arms kind of closeness. Fear has that effect on people.
Alexa Scott is a Carleton University Graduate currently in second year of the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College. When she's not in class, she can be found watching Law & Order and perfecting her guacamole recipe. She also loves to spend time at the park with her best friend, a mini Goldendoodle named Maple.