Imagine yourself walking behind a cloaked figure who bears only an old-fashioned lantern to light the way, and you have just pictured the scene that takes place on haunted walks through Kingston and Ottawa. Both cities are said to be home to haunts from ages past, and both cities are the site of haunted walking tours, during which guides take guests to haunted sites where spooky happenings sometimes occur. Not for the faint of heart, these haunted walks present historic buildings and other famous sites in a new and somewhat scary light. Let’s take a closer look.
There are a number of Haunted Walk tours available in Kingston, with different walks being available seasonally. Some favourites include the original Haunted Walk of Kingston, which departs most evenings from the lobby of the Prince George Hotel, located at 200 Ontario Street. Built in 1809, this hotel, which is still in business, is reputedly haunted by the ghost of a woman in Victorian garb – and it’s just one of the stops along the way. During this tour, you’ll learn about hangings that took place at the old Courthouse, and you’ll visit the haunted student ghetto house. If you are lucky, you just might meet the Organist’s ghost. Throughout the winter months, you can enjoy a similar walk; the Haunted Pub Walk, which features more documented hauntings and includes two pub stops along the way, with drinks sold separately.
The Ghosts of the Fort tour departs from the front gate of Fort Henry National Historic Site. This 19th century fortress is renowned for its after-dark haunted activity, although it is a great place to visit by daylight as well; there have been a number of ghost sightings in the bakery, as well as in the dry ditch area by the flank towers.
If you feel like leaving Kingston for the evening, try out the Ghosts and Legends of Gananoque tour, which features tales of pirate raids, ghost ships and more. As you pass by the old Springer Theatre on the waterfront, look and listen for the ghost of the actor who is said to haunt it to this day. Gananoque is located about 30 minutes by car from Kingston, and is also known as the “Gateway to the Thousand Islands.”
On the Ghost and the Gallows Tour, you can actually visit the gallows and death row inside the Old Carleton County Jail and visit a few other haunted locations. Between May and October, this tour departs from the Haunted Walks ticket booth on the corner of Sparks and Elgin streets; from November through April, it departs from the lobby of the Ottawa Jail Hostel, located at 75 Nicholas Street. The Crime and Punishment Jail Tour, which departs from the same points, also visits the jail, and while the Ghosts and Gallows tour, is very frightening for children, the Crime and Punishment tour is much less scary and delves a bit deeper into the history of early prison life in Ottawa, which was once considered to be North America’s most dangerous town. The Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa departs from the company’s ticket booth on Elgin and Sparks streets. On this tour, you’ll see the Grant House, the Fairmont Chateau Laurier, and the Bytown Museum, all of which are known as famous haunted sites. This is a great tour for all ages, though you will want to leave the kids behind for the Naughty Ottawa Pub Walk, which also departs from ticket booth. This tour features a