By Alex MlynekUpdated Mar 30, 2017
In partnership with Tourism Toronto
The Haunted Walk of Toronto The Haunted Walk of Toronto hosts four tours throughout October that are sure to get your family in the Halloween spirit: get spooked learning about the haunted history of the Distillery District on the Ghosts and Spirits of the Distillery tour; walk around the city while learning of its tortured past on the Original Haunted Walk of Toronto tour; head back to class to find out about the spirits that haunt the University of Toronto’s downtown campus on the Ghosts of the University of Toronto tour; or discover the scary side of pioneer life on the Haunted Walk Experience at Black Creek Pioneer Village. Parents with kids under age 10 are encouraged to use their discretion when deciding whether to bring younger kiddos on the Black Creek Pioneer Village walk, as staff say there have been paranormal experiences on past tours. Kids under 10 are free with an accompanying adult for the Ghosts of University of Toronto and the Ghosts and Spirits of the Distillery tours. Tickets range from $15.75 to $24.75, depending on the tour and age of participants.
When: Through October More info: hauntedwalk.com
Spirit Walk This 90-minute tour will take you through laneways and alleys in the city’s downtown as you visit spots that are said to be haunted. After the walk, you'll head over to Mackenzie House (once the home of William Lyon Mackenzie, Toronto’s first mayor), where warmed mulled cider and biscuits will be served up with more ghost stories. Tickets are $12.50 plus tax and must be purchased in advance. Suitable for ages eight and up.
When: Oct. 29, at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. More info: toronto.ca
City of the Dead: The Necropolis Cemetery Tour You can’t beat a cemetery for setting a spooky scene, and this tour will take you through one of Toronto’s oldest cemeteries, visiting the graves of famous Torontonians, like William Lyon Mackenzie. To boost the creepy factor, this walk is “drama enhanced”: participants will hear tales of the city’s past residents, including stories of “murder, heartbreak and great perseverance.” After the fun, everyone is welcome to head over to Mackenzie House to enjoy light refreshments and a tour. The walk is suitable for kids aged eight and up, and the mid-afternoon timing makes it a tad less scary than a nighttime event. Tickets are $12.50 plus tax and must be purchased in advance.
When: Oct. 16 and 23, 1:30 to 3 p.m. More info: toronto.ca
Fort York After Dark: Lantern Tours Fort York’s dramatic history is enhanced by visiting at night and touring around by lantern light. You’ll learn all about the Bloody Battle of York and the haunted lighthouse of Gibraltar Point, plus you’ll visit two nearby military cemeteries—a spooky way to get everyone geared up for Halloween. Tickets are $12.50 plus tax and pre-registration is required. Suitable for ages eight and up.
When: Oct. 26 – 28, 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. More info: toronto.ca
Ghost Walking Tour: Exhibition Place Exhibition Place’s grounds have been a French trading post and part of a British fort, as well as the land of Indigenous peoples for thousands of years, so it’s probably no surprise that the site is known for paranormal activity. For the inside scoop, take your family on a walk led by After Dark Tours. Researcher Steve Collie says the tour is meant to teach people about the site’s unexplained phenomena (you likely won’t see any ghosts, unless you are lucky, he notes). While Collie says the tour is best suited to kids ages 12 and up, you know your kid best—if you think she’d be up for it, then Collie says all are welcome. Tickets are $20, cash only.
When: Oct. 7, 14, 21 and 28, 7 to 9 p.m. More info: afterdarktour.com
Toronto and Ontario Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society Self-Guided Walking Tour of Downtown Toronto This non-profit group has been investigating and researching ghostly experiences on a volunteer basis since 1997. Lucky for fans of the paranormal, they’ve created two DIY ghost tours that take you through downtown Toronto (one goes from north to south, the other in the opposite direction). Completing both would take about four hours, so it’s probably best for families to split it into two excursions if you want to hit every stop.
More info: torontoghosts.org
Urban Capers’ Haunted Toronto For families with older kids (ages 11 and up), this spooky scavenger hunt is a super-fun way to learn about haunted spots—all the while trying to beat the other teams you're up against. You’ll be sent to some of Toronto’s scariest spots to answer trivia questions about the city’s haunting past. The scavenger hunt takes two hours and there’s a lot of walking involved, so wear comfy shoes and bring a bottle of water. And don’t forget your flashlight! Tickets are $29.99 plus tax.
When: Oct. 8 and 15, at 7 p.m.; and Oct. 22, 29, 30 and 31, at 6 p.m. More info: urbancapers.com
If you’re not up for a whole tour of spine-tingling fun (or don’t have a whole lot of time), here are a few reportedly haunted spots to visit:
The Hockey Hall of Fame: The building that houses the Hockey Hall of Fame was formerly a Bank of Montreal location. According to the Toronto Star, in 1953 a bank teller named Dorothea Mae Elliott took her own life on the second floor, and there have been spooky goings on ever since—flickering lights, doors opening and closing without reason, footsteps heard when people are working alone, and more. So if you take your family to check out the hockey history there, you might score a whole other experience.
Keg Mansion: Treat your family to a steak dinner with a side of ghost encounters at the Keg Mansion on Jarvis Street. Once owned by the Massey family, the mansion has seen a few deaths over the years, which may explain the tales of ghosts wandering the building. Staff report that kids have seen (and wanted to play with!) the ghost of a little boy who died after falling down a set of stairs in the house, and the ghost of a woman has been spotted in the upstairs women’s washroom. The staff reportedly keep a logbook where they document supernatural happenings, and they might let you have a peek if you ask.
High Park: According to the Toronto and Ontario Ghosts and Haunting Research Society, there have been sightings near the southeast side of Grenadier Pond of what may be the spirits of soldiers who fought in the War of 1812. And hey, if you don’t see any ghosts, it’s still worth a visit to check out the Jamie Bell Adventure Park and the High Park Zoo.