You don`t have to be a believer to enjoy a good ghost story. And you have to admit, if any place should be haunted, it has to be Niagara.
Aboriginal communities populated this area hundreds and hundreds of years ago, with the Niagara River offering an important route for trade and good ground to live on. Canada wasn`t even Canada yet when Niagara saw its first battles, during the War of 1812. All along the Niagara River, from Niagara-on-the-Lake through Niagara Falls to Fort Erie, soldiers died fighting to hold this ground.
The Fenian Raids in 1866, when this country was invaded a year after the U.S. Civil War ended, convinced Canadians that security was best found by becoming a nation, and a year later Canada was founded. Niagara is no stranger to bloodshed and warfare so we celebrate it here, and leave it to you whether or not to believe that spirits might still linger.
For starters, Niagara Ghost Walks takes visitors on a nighttime stroll through the old Niagara Falls downtown where many of the buildings are 100 years old or more. The tour promises tales of `murder and mayhem,’ as you might expect in an historic tourist town.
Fort George in Niagara-on-the-Lake – the larger of the two 1812 fortresses still standing here – will resume its ghost tours in mid-October. The lantern tour takes you through the creepiest spots of the wooden fort, including the tunnel near a lookout where numerous people have reported being touched or having seen images they couldn`t explain. NiagaraGhosts.com.
Farther south along the Niagara River, you come to Historic Fort Erie, one of the bloodiest battle sites from the entire war. It is said to be haunted by the ghost of a young soldier whose hands were blown off by a cannon ball as he cut the hair of an officer (who is said to have lost his head, and to also haunt the site). Tours are expected to resume there in October. NiagaraParks.ca.
Niagara-on-the-Lake – nearly destroyed by the Americans in retaliation for the British burning the White House during the War of 1812 – has plenty of ghost stories to offer up as well.
Numerous accounts of sightings and strange occurrences at the Angel Inn, the Royal George Theatre and Prince of Wales Hotel are enough to fill up several ghost tours. They aren`t all related to the war, either. This town of 15,000 or so offers one of the prettiest downtowns in all of Canada, and the tour takes you through some of its most haunted sites. GhostWalks.com.
The Niagara Falls History Museum has its own, let`s say creepy, offering – a nighttime tour through the Drummond Hill Cemetery, the final resting place of war heroine Laura Secord, at least one daredevil who conquered the falls, and other notables from the past. It was also the site of an extremely harrowing nighttime battle during the War of 1812.
The Drummond Hill Cemetery Tours are conducted at night, led by guides in period costume from the past 200 years. It isn’t billed as a ghost tour, but hey … you just never know.