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Haunted Walks

Halloween Roundup: Best Best for October 31

Haunted Walks will have eight tours on Halloween. Be prepared to witness the unexpected!

What better time to take in one of Ottawa’s many haunted walking tours than on the spookiest day of the year? Haunted Walks Inc. will be offering eight tours on the 31st, stopping off at the city’s most haunted sites and sharing creepy ghost stories along the way.

It’s not every day you get to brush shoulders with Canada’s Governor General, but you and your family can do just that this Halloween. The Right Honourable David Johnston will open his doors to trick-or-treaters from 5 p.m to 8 p.m. on Wednesday night for the annual Halloween at Rideau Hall’s Haunted House. Johnston will hand out goodies to the little ones, and guests are invited to wander through the haunted visitor centre — if they dare.

The annual Chills for CHEO fundraiser has found a new, permanent home at Fun Haven! This event, which has traditionally been held in residential areas throughout the city, will feature a 3,000 square foot haunted house experience. Tickets range from $5 to $20, with all net proceeds going directly toward the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario.

This Wednesday is your last chance to experience the one and only Haunting Season at Saunders Farm! Hop on the renowned Haunted Hayride; save the world from a zombie apocalypse at the zombie paintball shooting gallery; or wander through the spooktacular Barn of Terror. But be warned: the evening haunt is not recommended for kids under the age of 10.

The Phoenix Players are bringing Warren Graves’ The Death of Dracula to life this Halloween season at The Gladstone. Directed by Jo-Ann McCabe, this Gothic romance centres on Count Dracula in an epic battle between good and evil. Tickets start at just $15.

Feature: Ghost Town

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

WALKING DEAD
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.

FREAKY FARM
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

JAIL TIME
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

Happy haunting!

Staff Picks: 5 Types of Walking Tours

Walking tours are a great way to see the city this spring (photo by Sanjay Parekh)

Now that the weather appears to be warming, it’s a great time to get out and explore the city on foot. Whatever your pleasure, there’s likely a gregarious Torontonian offering a walking tour to your taste. Below, we present our favourites providers of five types of tours. (more…)

Hot Attraction: One of the Top 10 Spookiest Buildings in the World

Who goes there? The Ottawa Jail Hostel is both a place to rent a room, and a former jail.

If you visit Ottawa on a budget, you just might find yourself spending a night in jail — by choice. The Ottawa Jail Hostel was once a working jail (and is a good choice for those who want a cheaper stay and an experience to write home about). Guests have their choice of a solitary or double jail cell, and Haunted Walks holds a one-hour “Crime and Punishment” tour for the public that includes the old death row. No wonder travel experts at Lonely Planet named this spot one of the top 10 spookiest buildings in the world.