Monday, December 6, 2010

Death Click's Upcoming Toronto Ghost Tour

So, the Toronto Ghosts and Hauntings Research Society seem to be a bit up themselves.

They have a very long winded PDF document ("dahling," they coo, "it's 10000s of pages!") that you have to read through before taking an exam to join their illustrious ranks, plus the website seems to imply that you just won't be up to scratch anyway.

They generously provide a self-guided ghost tour of Toronto, but it's a little bit light on the ghosts. The Canada Life building is not spooky - unless you think weather is spooky (it has a funky little beacon on the top that gets updated four times a day to tell you what standing outside also can: rain, snow, no rain, no snow, getting a bit warmer or getting a bit colder).

Anyway, I obviously have a bit of a chip on my shoulder as the whole exclusive you're-not-worthy thing is very irksome. Pee Wee and I had planned to do the self-guided tour this coming weekend only to both realize that we really don't give an arse about the Canada Life building and most of the other locations are similarly a bit boring.

Now, Toronto the Good has a bit of a reputation for dullness (who was it that said - to paraphrase - if I have to die in Toronto, at least let it be on a Saturday so I don't have to live through another Sunday?) and the Muddy York Ghost Tours also seem a bit heavy on history and light on the grue, but it really doesn't have to be like that!

Minky and Pee Wee are going to brave the 10 cm of snow we're supposed to get on Sunday for the very first Death Clicks Toronto Ghost Tour.

First stop: Mackenzie House (open from noon til 5 pm on Sundays and has gift shop!) It's meant to be very haunted, and William Lyon Mackenzie, who was a controversial newspaper editor, then leader of a failed rebellion before becoming the first Mayor of Toronto is the number one spectre. Apparently, he is very pissy, and made subsequent inhabitants of the building feel very unwelcome. Some people have even photographed ORBS!!!!

Second stop: um, knowing Pee Wee it will be Tim Hortons. Does anyone know of a haunted Timmy's? Tim Hortons is named after a dead hockey player who died an ugly automobile death. In an impressive display of tact, the coffee chain then released a line of baby doughnuts called timbits.

Third stop: Fort York is a military site dating from 1793. It is meant to be very haunted and most of the manifestations happen conveniently during daylight hours. Inexplicable footsteps and EVP shenanigans abound. The one drawback is it's close to Lake Ontario which could mean it'll be cold enough to freeze the balls off a brass monkey and therefore off the itinerary.

Fourth stop: Christie Mansion. Mr Christie made very good cookies. He also made a secret room in which to hide his mistress and never allowed her to leave. No wonder there's a poltergeist there.

Fifth stop: Probably the cemetery of St James Cathedral, Toronto's oldest cemetery, which is located nowhere near the cathedral. Not haunted but the last resting place two of the victims of the notorious H.H. Holmes. Most people don't even know about this crazed prolific serial killer and even those who have heard of him rarely know he ended up in Toronto. Erik Larson's The Devil and the White City is well worth checking out - slightly docudrama-ed retelling Holmes' exploits but eminently readable.

Last stop: From the cemetery, it's only a short walk to the most famous haunting spot in Toronto and it's a toilet! Luckily, it's a women's toilet in Keg Mansion which is one super steakhouse. The Massey family used to live in the building and one of the daughters died on the second floor (where the washrooms are). A lot of the staff are more than happy to recount their mysterious encounters. The toilets actually are a bit creepy, and the building is beautiful. And they serve steak, so it's going to be a Death Clicks Christmas party!

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