As BC’s most haunted place, supernatural events abound in the Capital – and not just at Halloween. While visitors can enjoy a “spirited” visit to Victoria at any time of the year, as Halloween approaches, the Ghosts of Victoria Festival provides even more spooky ideas.
Ross Bay Cemetery, open daily during daylight hours, is a beautiful oceanside Victorian cemetery where phantoms roam. History tours by the Old Cemeteries Society take place every Sunday at 2pm. Two special Halloween events include a Psychic Tour October 20 at 2pm and the annual Ghost Tour October 27 at 1pm.
www.oldcem.bc.ca or 250-598-8870.
The Maritime Museum dominates Bastion Square, considered by many to be Victoria’s most haunted place, and is the favourite haunt of Sir Matthew Baillie Begbie, the “hanging judge.” The museum is open daily during September and October from 9:30am to 4:30pm. Ghost Tours are scheduled on select evenings during the last two weeks of October. A Ghost Investigation by Beyond Belief Paranormal Events will be on October 26. 250-385-4222, ext. 106.
St. Ann’s Academy is a former convent school whose beautiful grounds are always open. The restored chapel is open Thursday through Sunday 1 to 4pm during September and October. On October 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 7pm a special program called “Voices from the Past” takes place in the chapel and grounds and deals with life, death and unexplained phenomena at this 155-year-old historic site. 250-953-8828
Ghostly Walks explore the haunted alleys and courtyards of downtown Victoria. These popular 90-minute walks take place nightly at 7:30pm until October 24. Extra 9:30pm walks are offered nightly from September 1 to 14 and Fridays and Saturdays September 15 to October 17. A special Halloween schedule runs from October 18 through November 2, with tours nightly at 6:30, 7:30, 8:30 and 9:30pm. 250-384-6698 or www.discoverthepast.com
Craigdarroch Castle, open daily for visitors to see the splendour of its restored rooms, does not offer ghost tours, but at Halloween it will host the play Dracula – The Blood is the Life nightly from October 23 to 31 (except October 28). The castle interior is the stage for this remarkable drama. There is no seating and 87 steps to climb, but tickets go quickly. 250-592-5323 ext. 31 or www.thecastle.ca
Original Ghost Bus-tours are an annual Halloween favourite – two-hour haunted coach tours are conducted by ghost expert John Adams for the Old Cemeteries Society and pass by the city’s most haunted places, including a stop to look for the famous Golf Course Ghost. Selected nights October 17 to 30; advance reservations required at www.ticketrocket.org or 250-590-6291.
Victoria Carriage Tours operate daily and from October 25 to 30 offer Haunted Victoria Horsedrawn Tours. 250-383-2207.
Galey Farm gets into the Halloween spirit with its Festival of Fear, nightly October 10 to 31 from 6pm to 10pm: Haunted House for kids; Carnevil Haunted House for adults; the Cornfield of Horror; Crazy Train; and Madame Isabella’s Séance. www.galeyfarms.net or call 250-477-5713.
Oak Bay Avenue takes on a spooky look around Halloween with Pumpkin Art, featuring hundreds of uniquely carved pumpkins. www.visitoakbayvillage.ca
Where else might you find a little spirited adventure during your Victoria visit?
Several shops in Old Town along Government Street are good places to start, including Rogers Chocolates and Old Morris Tobacconists. Tourism Victoria can also provide names of many haunted restaurants, bars, hotels and bed and breakfasts.
Hatley Castle (at Royal Roads University) is haunted by ghosts of the Dunsmuir family who once owned it. Featured in the Creepy Canada TV series, the formal gardens and museum are open daily during September and October. 250-391-2666.
The Old Burying Ground (Pioneer Square) is on the edge of downtown (Quadra at Meares streets). Beneath majestic trees and crumbling tombstones lie 1,300 bodies.
The Victoria Golf Course on scenic Beach Drive beside the ocean in Oak Bay is haunted by Doris Gravlin who was strangled there by her husband in 1936. Many believe she is the most frequently seen ghost in town.
Chinatown has many stories of ghosts and the supernatural. Its secret tunnels are only myths, but its hauntings are very real. Watch out for the ghost of Chung, who murdered his girlfriend, then fled through Fan Tan Alley. Chinatown Walks are held Saturdays at 10:30am, with private tours by request. Tours start from the corner of Government and Fisgard streets (in front of Starbucks Coffee). They focus on history, but at Halloween a few ghost stories slip in. 250-384-6698.
Market Square is a heritage oasis of elegant brick buildings of the late 1800s. The ghosts here long ago frequented the saloons, brothels and gambling dens that lined Johnson Street, Victoria’s once infamous red light district.
For more details about the Ghosts of Victoria Festival and haunted places and activities, from the light-hearted to the serious, call Tourism Victoria at 250-953-2033 or stop by the Visitor Centre beside the Inner Harbour.