It’s that time of year again. Ghosts, ghouls and goblins will be lurking in the shadows this October, and you might just find yourself in a bit of double, double, toil and trouble—the good kind, of course. Our fires are burning and our cauldrons bubbling in YDH this Halloween as we count down to the big night of trick-or-treating. To get you in the mood for the heebie-jeebies, we’ve got some great Halloween experiences waiting for you. Because of COVID-19 and the necessary shift in safety protocols it has brought, our festivals and events have been working hard to adapt to this challenge so our visitors can continue to make those spooky-fun memories with us. We’ve even seen brand new experiences pop up that we’re super excited about. Come to York Durham Headwaters and see what Halloween treats await. No tricks, we promise… maybe.
Haunted Ghost Drive-Thru Tour at Pickering Museum Village
This season, the Pickering Museum Village has developed a brand-new experience—a drive-thru tour of the museum grounds. Your spooktacular visit to this 27-acre hidden gem will be full of chilling tales of ghosts and things that go bump in the night. These aren’t just any ghost stories, they’re based on things that have actually happened at the museum, as experienced by staff, visitors, volunteers, and even a team of paranormal investigators. Take a driving tour of the historic village at night and hear stories from the past that still haunt us today. Your drive will include an audio guide to play in your car. Keep your eyes peeled—you never know where or when the next ghostly encounter will be.
The Haunted Ghost Drive-Thru Tour takes place every Thursday until October 29th. To book your tour, visit the Pickering Museum Village website at https://www.pickering.ca/en/discovering/pickering-museum-village, or call 905.683.8401.
Pickering Museum Village
2365 6th Concession Rd.,
Greenwood, ON L0H 1H0
Guided Ehrenwort Trail Tours at CAMP 30
The infamous Camp 30 of World War II, where captured German soldiers were held prisoner, is today a National Historic Site. Abandoned and derelict, the buildings of Camp 30 are steeped in history, and stand as a spooky reminder that Bowmanville’s past is more thrilling than you might be aware.
Take a walking tour of Camp 30 with the Jury Lands Foundation and see for yourself these eerie buildings. The tour will explore the trails that surround the grounds of what was originally the Pine Ridge Boys Training School, a self-sufficient institution for “underprivileged truant boys” in the 1920s, before it was requisitioned by the Canadian government and turned into Camp 30 to house some of the highest ranking officers of the German Third Reich. We won’t be surprised if you feel the hairs on the back of your neck stand up, as if someone is watching you. Perhaps the spirits of the Battle of Bowmanville have returned to the site of this famous prisoners’ revolt.
All tours begin at the walkway entrance at 151 Sprucewood Crescent in Bowmanville, and are approximately 1.5 hours long. Guests are encouraged to bring appropriate footwear for a gravel trail, and to expect stairs. Public tours are free of charge, and donations will go towards the site’s preservation. Private group tours can be booked as well. For information, visit https://jurylandsfoundation.com/guided-site-tours-summer-fall-2020/ or text (289) 600-0041. Due to COVID-19, reservations are strongly encouraged.
2020 Lambs Rd.,
Bowmanville, ON L1C 4Y7
York-Durham Heritage Railway Wizard Festival and Hallows Express Train Ride
Witches, warlocks, wizards and Harry Potter fans, Wizards’ Festival is back at York-Durham Heritage Railway. Kick off your Halloween fun this year from October 2nd to 4th with this interactive and immersive experience that includes Quidditch tournaments, a stroll through Enchanted Alley, and classes for charms, potions and so much more. The best part is that you don’t have to find Platform 9 ¾ to attend. Uxbridge is just an hour’s drive from Toronto (less than that if you happen to fly an enchanted vehicle). All muggles welcome but no muggle attire—come dressed in your finest wizarding garb.
Your general admission ticket gets you into the grounds, and your premium ticket gets you on board the Hallows Express train to Goodwoodora Prison, where there is a rumour that two evil wizards are hatching a plan to escape. It is up to you and your fellow passengers to help the ministry secretly transport these evil sorcerers to a more secure location.
To purchase your tickets, visit https://wizardsfestival.com. This is an outdoor event, come rain or shine, so make sure you’re dressed for the weather. And because cash payments are discouraged due to COVID-19, come with your magical debit or credit card.
York-Durham Heritage Railway
19 Railway St.,
Uxbridge, ON L9P 1E5
Story by Katherine Ryalen