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10 things you need to know about… Halloween chills and thrills in Canada.

As darkness falls across the land, travellers can get ready to be spooked by grisly ghouls, zombies, haunted tours and more.

19 August 2015

Suggested tweet: Fright night: 10 unique Canadian Halloween chills and thrills #explorecanada 

In late October, when the days grow shorter and chill nips the air, Canada’s ghouls come out to play. From ghost-train rides through old-growth rainforests to grisly tours of centuries-old battle sites, plenty of Halloween thrills and chills await travellers.

1) Ghosts on the coast: Don’t let the charm of British Columbia’s capital city of Victoria deceive you—phantoms roam city landmarks, from Hatley Castle (built in 1908) to Beacon Hill Park. Stroll city streets on a ghostly walk and hear grim tales of murder and hangings, or join a spine-tingling tour of the century-old Fairmont Empress Hotel, said to be haunted by the ghost of original architect, Francis Rattenbury.

2) Terror train in Vancouver: All aboard for a ride to remember. A spooky train runs through Vancouver’s 1,000-acre Stanley Park in the dead of night. Classic horror characters such as Dracula, Frankenstein and the Phantom of the Opera come to life as you weave your way through Pacific coastal rainforest.

3) Pumpkins on the prairies: Every year in the small town of Bon Accord, 25 km (16 mi) north of Edmonton, AB, the Haunted Pumpkin Festival at Prairie Gardens Adventure Farm offers visitors a uniquely terrifying take on the Canadian prairies. After being greeted by a headless horseman, meander through the corn maze, get scared silly in the haunted house or shoot pumpkins from a cannon.

4) Nightmares at the Falls: Niagara Falls, known for its thundering cascades, also has a dark side. Just blocks away from the falls, the Clifton Hill Tourist District offers some of the scariest attractions. Creep your way through the pitch-black maze in Nightmares Fear Factory, once the site of an old coffin factory, or meet the monsters trapped in the House of Frankenstein, a haunted fun house with live actors. 

5) Fort fright in Kingston: Fort Henry, originally built during the War of 1812 and infamous for housing prisoners during both world wars, turns into Fort Fright each October. Actors dressed as ghostly apparitions, zombies and psychopaths jump out as you venture along the dark corridors and passageways. Or spend the night, but don’t expect luxury: these are the same limestone-walled rooms soldiers slumbered in during the 1860s.

6) A haunted prison in Canada’s capital: Carleton County Jail in Ottawa was one of the most notorious in the country, home to Canada’s last working gallows. In 1972, the jail closed and was ultimately converted into a hostel. Relive its dark history during an overnight stay in an original concrete cell. For the truly fearless, regular tours now take visitors into the old death row on the top floor.

7) Spirits on the Plains: The Plains of Abraham in Québec City, the site of one of the bloodiest battles in Canadian history, has a sordid past of public hangings, bloody crimes and sundry sinful doings. Explore the haunted Martello tower or join costumed characters for a guided tour to learn about legendary criminals and traipse through centuries-old burial grounds. 

8) Ancient graveyard by candlelight: Walk the oldest English graveyard in Canada on this after-dark, candlelit tour at Nova Scotia’s Fort Anne National Historic Site. Originally erected in 1629 high above the Annapolis River, Fort Anne has seen more than its share of gory battles and deaths over the centuries.

9) Unsolved mysteries in Halifax: First settled by the British in 1749, Halifax has plenty of haunted history and ghastly secrets. Take a ghost walk after dark to hear tales of poltergeists, pirates and long-lost treasures. Or make your way up the hill to the Halifax Citadel, where candlelit ghost tours lead deep into old tunnels and prison cells—home to a few centuries worth of ghouls.

10) Hotel horrors on Prince Edward Island: Built in the late 1800s by a wealthy English doctor, Kensington’s Haunted Mansion is infamous for good reason: guests arriving at the inn have a tendency to disappear. Explore the Tudor-style mansion—where legend has it axe-murderess Lizzy Borden once stayed—during Halloween Nights of Fear

Looking for more spooky inspiration from Canada? Browse our Brand Canada Library for thousands of images and videos from all over Canada.

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