From the kinda creepy to the downright scary, read on for some of the best ways to spend the spooky season in the capital.
Haunted Walks of Ottawa
Have you heard that the fifth floor of the Fairmont Château Laurier is supposedly haunted by a spooky spectre? Same with the old buildings on Ottawa City Hall grounds. Take a tour of O-Town’s darker side with Haunted Walks of Ottawa, and you’ll see local landmarks in a whole new light. Various tours run year-round, and Halloween season, which offers an array of extended (and even eerier) tours, runs from Oct. 12 to 31. Tickets are available at the kiosk at the corner of Sparks and Elgin Streets, and tours depart from the same spot.
For many, Halloween just isn’t Halloween without a trip to Saunders Farm, which holds its annual Haunting Season from Sept. 29 to Oct. 31 and offers families enough hair-raising entertainment to keep them blissfully spooked for days. Different activities run day and night and range from fun (giant jumping pillows, wagon rides, mazes) to frightening (the Barn of Terror, Stalkers Field, Haunted Hayride). 7893 Bleeks Rd., Munster, 613-838-5440, www.saundersfarm.com
The Ottawa Jail Hostel
Ghostly encounters abound at the HI-Ottawa Jail Hostel. The institution served as Carleton County Goal from 1862 to 1972, and soon after was turned into a youth hostel, which it remains today. Guests sleep in renovated prison cells or in the former offices of the prison staff. Many a haunting account has been told by guests of the hostel — over the years, travellers have told stories of ghostly apparitions appearing at the bottom of their beds, mysterious footsteps, and banging in the walls. Named one of the seven spookiest buildings in the world by Lonely Planet, it’s an experience you won’t soon forget. (Plus, you can tell your friends you went to Ottawa and spent a night in the slammer.) 75 Nicholas St., 613-235-2595; 866-299-1478, www.hihostels.ca
A NIGHT AT THE MUSEUM
On Oct. 20, the Bytown Museum presents Creepy, Crawly Bytown. Families can join the museum for an afternoon of Halloween fun, including a spooky scavenger hunt, creepy crafts and more. 1 Canal Lane, 613-234-4570, www.bytownmuseum.com
At the Canada Agriculture Museum’s Barnyard Halloween on Oct. 27 and 28, kids can scour the barn for goodies on a trick-or-treat scavenger and take part in a costume parade. Prince of Wales Dr., 613-991-3044 , www.agriculture.technomuses.ca
The Billings Estate National Historic Site
The Billings Estate National Historic Site offers a Cemetery Tour on Oct. 20 and 21, a Historic House Séance on Oct. 26 and 27 ($25), and a Ghost Hunt on Oct. 27 and 28 ($20). 2100 Cabot St., 613-247-4830, ottawa.ca
From Oct. 27 to 31, the Canadian Museum of Nature offers a Halloween scavenger hunt, where visitors can find surprises hidden in the exhibits. 240 McLeod St., 613-566-4700, www.nature.ca