Revellers at the 2013 Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade. Photo by Mike Kocza.
Whistling in the hallway or the sound of clinking glasses late at night. A child’s laughter in a building that’s not publicly accessible. A vanishing police officer and his horse. Two soldiers from the War of 1812 floating through a chain link fence. You’ll hear about these and other unexplained experiences of past and present Exhibition Place employees during a Ghost Walks tour, which explores the venue’s archives, horticulture building and more on October 17, 24 and 31. Tours start at 7 p.m., $20 per person; call 416-263-3658 to register.
A few frightening flicks infiltrate TV and cinema schedules around Halloween, but genre fans know there’s an entire series of spine tingling, goose bump–inducing flicks at the Toronto After Dark Film Festival. The nine-day event, from October 16 to 24, screens new short and feature-length horror, cult, science fiction and action movies from around the world. Zombie Appreciation Night (October 18) sees two new undead-themed screenings back to back. Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond St. W., tickets $13; see torontoafterdark.com for a schedule.
Dawn of the Dead
It may seem like the apocalypse is coming on October 25, when thousands of bloody and ghoulish beings can be seen traipsing through the downtown core. But don’t be frightened (well, not too frightened, anyway): It’s just the annual Toronto Zombie Walk and Halloween Parade, which starts at 3 p.m. at Nathan Phillips Square (100 Queen St. W.). Don your scariest poltergeist, mummy, monster, vampire or demon costume and join in the fun, or watch along the route; see torontozombiewalk.ca for details. —Linda Luong
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.
On Oct. 31, kids and adults get decked out as witches, goblins and Harry Potter characters before hitting the streets for an eve of trick-or-treating. Joining in on the fun are trusty canine sidekicks dressed as spooky jack-o’-lanterns, scrumptious hot dogs, terrifying T. rex and too-cute bumblebees. Purchase these hilarious pet costumes at Woofles & Meowz, Barking Babies and Michaels.—Jennifer Patterson
PEI’s Paper Lions have a lot to be proud of. In the last year, the band wrote and produced two albums (a six-song acoustic EP and an as-yet-unreleased LP); hosted a successful Indiegogo campaign to help fund a trip out west; and performed a string of shows throughout Ontario, Quebec and the Maritimes. On top of all that, they gained international notoriety back in May when the years-old music video for their hit song “Travelling” went viral, reaching over 2 million hits on YouTube.
This fall, the guys are embarking on a coast-to-coast Canadian tour and, luckily for us, that includes a stop at Zaphod’s this Saturday night. WHERE Ottawa‘s Erica Eades chats with guitarist Colin Buchanan about his must-see Ottawa attractions, the band’s east coast roots, and their upcoming show in the nation’s capital.
You all grew up together in Belfast, PEI. What effect did this rural upbringing have on your work? Oh, it’s the sheer reason we’re making music. We wouldn’t be doing this if we didn’t grow up where we did. There wasn’t much else to do, so we all started playing music together when we were in our early teens. We could make a lot of noise because we lived out in the country! Lyrically, all our songs, especially on our new record, are just about growing up in a rural community, and about us growing up together.
What challenges did you face beginning the band in this type of environment? Belfast is a rural area, and Charlottetown, the capital of PEI, is still very, very small. We had to build a following territory by territory. We went from playing the Belfast Rec Centre, to Charlottetown, and then Halifax and Fredericton, and now into more foreign territories. I guess the biggest obstacle would just be all the driving. [laughs]
A lot of bands, upon reaching your level of success, move on to bigger cities like Halifax or Toronto. Why have you chosen to remain in your home province? The conversation has definitely come up several times. But, you know, we like PEI. It’s really quiet, and they’re really supportive of what we do. I think a lot of that keeps us coming back. And just the pace in general works for us. I could see us maybe moving at some point, but we just like PEI too much – especially in the summertime.
Earlier this year you traveled to Vancouver to work with legendary music producer Howard Redekopp. What was that like? Oh, Howard is great! I mean, there’s a reason why he has such a good name. I think he only really works with bands that he truly understands and has a personal kinship with already. So we were lucky to go into it feeling really comfortable with him. I think Howard is just a good pace, too. He’s not a slave-driver by any means; he keeps pretty modest hours, which works for us. We did a lot of the pre-production ourselves, so there weren’t too many changes by the time he came in. Anything that he did to steer us in the right direction seemed obvious in retrospect, but certainly wouldn’t have come about without him.
When will fans get to hear the final product? I’ve read it may be released as early as winter 2012. It’s looking more like 2013 now, probably around February. That’s the loose date we’ve been throwing around, anyway. We always get ahead of ourselves and say dates and end up sort of backpedaling. There’s all kinds of label things that need to be put in place before you can actually release a record these days.
You’re currently in the middle of a national tour in support of your acoustic EP At Long Creek, which you released for free online earlier this summer. How’s that going so far? Oh, it’s been great. We’ve been having time to go back home in between dates. We did a Pop Montreal and Ontario run, and then we were home for a couple of days. Then we were over in Newfoundland, and we were home for a few more days. Now we’re looking to get back out on the road. It’s been nice to sort of break it up in that way – we’re not going to run out of steam! [laughs]
You’ll be performing at Zaphod’s this Saturday night, along with Danielle Duval and Ashleys. What can audiences expect from this gig? It’s going to be a Halloween show, I think! I can’t wait. We’re always on the road during Halloween, and we usually just end up getting something from Value Village at the last minute. But this time we actually got together and were like, ‘OK, we’ve got to get our Halloween ducks in order this time.’ So we’ve decided on costumes and we’re putting them together before we go on tour. It’s a far better idea.
Can you tell us what you’ll be dressing up as? Oh, it’s going to be a surprise! But it’ll be pretty cool.
You’ve played the nation’s capital a number of times before. What do you guys like to do while you’re in town? Well, we’ve gone to Parliament Hill and all that jazz before. We’ve taken in the sights, which is really awesome! It’s really cool to walk around and see all the old architecture.
I also have some friends that just moved to PEI who used to own a cafe in Ottawa, right beside Zaphod’s, called Oh So Good. I’ll probably pop in there and see what all the fuss is about.
Paper Lions play Zaphod’s on Saturday, Oct. 27. For ticket information visit Ticketweb.
Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo present two Ottawa premieres Friday at the National Arts Centre
Contemporary Brazilian dance company Grupo Corpo return to the National Arts Centre this weekend with a double-bill of Ottawa premieres. First is Sem Mim, an ebbing and flowing ballet set to music inspired by a medieval Galician-Portuguese songbook. Following that is Ímã, a high energy exploration of attraction and repulsion, featuring music by Brazilian trio +2.
The Ottawa Shakespeare Company stages Julius Caesar, the epic tale of power and politics, at Centrepointe Theatre from October 24 to November 3. Actor Eugene Clark (of Toronto’s The Lion King) makes his Ottawa debut in the leading role, while Stratford Festival alumni Mac Fyfe and Ottawa’s Sarah McVie add to the strong cast.
PEI native Rose Cousins will grace the stage of the National Arts Centre this evening in support of her latest album, We Have Made a Spark.Since debuting in 2006, the multi-award-winning singer/songwriter has captivated audiences with her piano-driven folk-pop sound.
Looking for something completely different (and totally spooky) this Halloween weekend? Watson’s Mill in Manotick is hosting its very own Paranormal Investigation on Saturday night. Join Daniel Touchette, president of the Ottawa Haunting and Paranormal Group, as he reveals the secrets of this creepy craft. Tickets are $25, with proceeds going toward general upkeep of the Mill.
Jonathan Goldstein, host of CBC’s Wiretap, speaks at the Ottawa International Writers Festival on Sunday
Jonathan Goldstein — host of CBC’s Wiretap and contributor to GQ, The Walrus, The New York Times and The National Post — will take part in a special one on one chat as part of the Ottawa International Writers Festival. Join the bestselling author as he humourously recounts his last year in his 30s.
The Canada Agriculture Museum will host its family-friendly Barnyard Halloween event this Sunday. From 10 am to 2 pm, the general public is invited to explore the grounds and try their hand at a variety of fall-themed activities. Choose from pumpkin decorating, a costume parade, a scavenger hunt, wagon rides, and a variety of animal-care demonstrations.
Patricia Piccinini. Still Life with Stem Cells, 2002. Courtesy of the Artist.
Friday, October 5 If you’re looking for activities the whole family can enjoy this weekend, check out Fairytales, Monsters and the Genetic Imagination at the Glenbow Museum. The exhibition is comprised of works by contemporary artists who are inspired by the fantastic stories and characters of myths, fairytales and science fiction in which the boundaries between human and animal are blurred. The exhibition includes approximately 60 paintings, photographs, sculptures and video works by contemporary artists from Canada and around the world. The exhibition will run until January 2nd. Tickets are $14 adults, $10 senior, $9 student and youth $9.
Scared yet? Screamfest 2012 starts this weekend. Photo: Courtesy Screamfest.
Friday, October 5 and Saturday, October 6 This Friday and Saturday, check out the first weekend of Screamfest. During the month of October, Stampede Park transforms into a carnival of carnage. This Halloween festival includes six terrifying haunted houses, a renovated Bates Motel, indoor maze, rides, musical entertainment, food vendors and contortionists. Tickets are available at Ticketbud and range from $20 to $40. The event runs from 7 pm to midnight.
On Friday and Saturday, check out Soulocentric Festival 2012 at Vertigo Theatre. The festival showcases independent performing artists that are creating new and original solo works in dance, theatre, music and multi-media. Start times vary. To purchase tickets, call 403-221-3708 or visit the festival’s website. (more…)
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
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
Fun free events going on at Olympic Plaza on Saturday. Photo: Adele Brunnhofer.
Friday, September 28 TELUS Spark celebrates its first birthday with Monster Mash-up. This family-friendly special event will include a scavenger hunt, pumpkin decorating, face painting and a station for children trick out their Halloween costumes. This celebration is great for the whole family
Check out Alberta Culture Days 2012 Kick Off Tailgate Party from 5 pm to 7:30 pm. The evening will feature live music by Michael Bernard Fitzgerald, The Collective, Calgary Youth Chorus, Kugakai Lion Dance Team as well as b-boys Grim Reminder. The event takes place at the East Tailgate Parking Lot of McMahon Stadium. No football ticket needed to join in the festivities!
Don’t miss the closing weekend of Next to Normal at Max Bell Theatre, at the EPCOR CENTRE for the Performing Arts. The much-talked-about Broadway musical Next to Normal was the winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Drama. The play follows a family as they deal with the struggles of a mother’s mental illness. Tickets start at $25. (more…)
Dentists tend to avoid Frankies Candy Bar, but everyone else loves the colourful shop, which is bursting with sugary snacks such as chocolate-covered gummy bears, lollipops, candy rocks, sour gummy worms and gumballs. Anglophiles especially adore the hard-to-find treats from England. Stop by before Halloween to stock up on Pop Rocks, Giant Chewy Nerds, Big League Chew and Tooty Frooties for trick-or-treating ghosts and goblins.—Sheri Radford
Every Friday we feature an inspirational travel photo of a Canadian destination taken by one of our readers.
Photo by Paul Gorbould
Why we chose it: In honour of autumn and Halloween, we searched high and low for the best pumpkin-patch capture in the land. The hyper-contrasted overcast sky in this photo is deliciously ominous. The narrowing perspective created by the trees framing either side add to the overall spookiness of the snap. And what focus! If this is what HDR can do, we’re sold.
Want to be featured in our Photo Friday? Join our Flickr Group and upload your favourite travel shots! We’ll credit you and link to your photo.
With All Hallows’ Eve upon us, here’s a look at some spooky ways to spend the weekend around the city. If you’re seeking less zombified events, our regular spine-warming, hair-dropping Weekend Roundup is still here.
photo by Jelle Druyts
Friday, October 28 Grown-up trick-or-treaters can don costumes and make their way around Liberty Village for the Nightmare on Liberty Street. Local restaurants offer deals on food and drink, and there’s an after party at Vogue Supper Club with prizes and a live DJ. (more…)
Quebec City's Château Frontenac (Photo by HuTDoG83)
Is anything better than a good ghost story? Have your own to tell after you spend a night at one of these hotels known for their paranormal activity. After hearing creepy tales of murders, hangings and ghosts snuggling up to guests in bed, you’ll be thankful if things merely go bump in the night. Happy Halloween!
1. Fairmont Algonquin St. Andrews-by-the-Sea, New Brunswick The most haunted room in the 19th-century hotel is rumoured to be no. 473, where guests report seeing a weeping bride, the ghost of a woman who apparently took her own life in the room after being left at the altar. Guests have also recounted sightings of a ghostly bellhop roaming the halls. The hotel revels in its haunted history, telling campfire ghost stories and giving ghost tours. Book it.