If there’s a time for realistic and terrifying ghost stories, it’s Halloween. Now, you can pull out those tried-and-true horror films for a good old fashioned scare, or you can get your thrills in a more hands-on way (yikes!). Walking tours are big in cities with rich (and spooky) histories and, as we know, Canada’s got plenty of those. Supplement your love for ghost stories with a little local history and a lot of real life terror by going on a walk with a ghost.
From the cities you know are brimming with ghost stories (looking at you, Niagara-on-the-Lake) to those you never would have thought of (hold on, Hamilton is haunted?), you’re sure to get a thrill and an education when you go for a haunted walking tour. So grab your Halloween spirit and an extra pair of pants, these are the best (and scariest) walking tours in Canada.
The 10 most terrifying walking tours we dare you to try
QUEBEC CITYWhat's scarier than a good ghost story? How about horror stories that are 100 per cent true? This walk through Quebec City is led by Marie-Rivière, the wife of Jean Rattier, an executioner. The tour explores crime and punishment in Old Town Quebec and all the stories of murder and gore actually happened. If you're looking for a little French-Canadian history with your Halloween haunting, this is the tour for you.
$20/person Les Promanades Fantomes
MONTREALMontreal is also rich in haunted history and actual ghost stories. If you ask us, that's definitely the scariest kind! This tour takes you through the city with stops at all the major ghost attractions, and you can even opt for the 'Ghost Walk and Dark Encounters,' which adds in surprise visits from the dead. Shudder.
KINGSTONIf you thought your biggest fear in Kingston should be the Queen's students, think again. There's rich ghost history here, too. This tour takes you through the Old Sydenham Ward and includes haunted hotels, burial grounds and the old courthouse. Plus, if you like the feel of this one, The Haunted Walk offers similar tours in Toronto and Ottawa.
$16/personThe Haunted Walk/Facebook
VANCOUVERThis tour is definitely designed to scare your pants off--the kiddies are going to have to sit this one out. It looks like Vancouver's haunted history is quite a gory one. Travel back to when the city was a frontier town that suffered everything from smallpox and fires to dramatic and unsolved murders. This walk includes great theatrics in addition to the ghost stories. You might want to bring that extra pair of pants.
ST. JOHN'SIs there a place more likely to be haunted than Canada's oldest city? Probably not. The fog from the harbour often covers the city, creating the perfect setting for a haunted walk. Are you shaking yet? Unfortunately, this walk is only for the summer months, but that doesn't mean there isn't Halloween spooking to be had. At Halloween, come to the Leaside Manor for ghost stories from Dale Jarvis and don't forget to dress up in your best Victorian wear.
$10/personSt. John's Haunted Hike/Facebook
HAMILTONWho would've thought Hamilton of all places would have such great material for a haunted walk? Especially when it seems so beautiful and innocent during the day. Take the classic ghost tour and visit all the best haunted sites in the city or graduate to the Dark History tour... if you dare. The Dark History tour doesn't play around. They'll let you in on all the darkest and most violent stories from Hamilton's history--we're already shaking in our boots.
VICTORIAIf you're not into the costumes and theatrics, this tour's got your back. You don't need fancy costumes and ghosts yelling 'boo' to truly be terrified. This tour takes you around Old Victoria and shares all the history and horrifying ghost stories without them jumping out at you. Who said the spoken word was dead? These stories will still give us nightmares for weeks.
$15/personDiscover the Past
EDMONTONEdmonton Ghost Tours offers much more than their basic tour around Old Strathcona. They tell your classic ghost stories and histories, but the real gem is the tour of the University of Alberta. That's right. We bet you didn't think about ghosts haunting those education buildings. If you're looking for an excuse not to go to class, this is definitely it. You probably don't want to run into the dead scientist who haunts the power plant on your way to chemistry 101.
$10/personFacebook/Old Strathcona Foundation
WINNIPEGThis tour hits all the main heritage buildings in the city: Seven Oaks House, Hotel Fort Garry and the Pantages Theatre to name a few. Hear about bloody murders, cheating lovers and, of course, some tragic 'accidents.' The best part is that you can take all the stories home with you. Matthew Komus, the creator of the Winnipeg Ghost Walk has released a book that includes all the best ghost stories from the city. If you think you can handle it, you can purchase the book from your tour guide after the walk.
$15/personWinnipeg Ghost Walk
NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKENiagara-on-the-Lake has been referred to as the most haunted town in Canada. So that's either exactly where you want to be on Halloween or the place you want to avoid at all costs. Not only is it the most haunted town, but this tour takes you into Fort George, the most haunted site within the haunted town. Plus, if you head over there during October, you can visit the haunted officers' quarters, which is usually closed during the summer season. Gulp.