During the spring and summer of 2020, Ottawa is promoting the Keep Ottawa Awesome initiative encouraging people to buy gift certificates from small business – like The Haunted Walk – for future use. Even better: stay 2 consecutive nights at an Ottawa hotel and get a $100 Visa gift card! Check it out.
NOTE: The following is based on a trip I took with my dog in 2019. (As of June 2020, the Haunted Walks are offering ‘private bubble tours’ for up to eight people).
Haunted Walks are fun – history, storytelling and sight-seeing all rolled into one long stroll. And unlike a lot of hop-on-hop-off tour buses circling major cities, pups can often stroll along most inner-city walking tours.
We’ve been on many ghost tours including Toronto (read about it here). So, while in Canada’s capital during the 2019 summer, my dog Victor and I checked out Toronto’s sister tour, The Haunted Walk of Ottawa because hey, what’s more frightening than the Federal Government?
Ottawa teachers, apparently. Or so you might think after an evening of Ottawa’s ghost tour – one of the best ways learn about Ottawa history and architecture … with your dog. (Did I mention?)
During the summer of 2019, my dog and I spent a hot but interesting weekend in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.
The Haunted Walk of Ottawa
The Haunted Walk of Ottawa, located along Sparks Street, offers several themed walks nightly from April to November (but October is clearly popular) including The Original Haunted Walk through the downtown core. Outdoors and dog-friendly … if your dog walks nicely on a leash.
On our tour was another, younger dog learning how to leash walk. Tours like this are good places to practice if your pup’s in the right mood. Mine, however, decided the temperature was too hot and the day too long to walk gleefully in a pack and got tired of the stroller quickly too.
But we persevered.
With a bit of pacing and a bit of pulling, we covered a lot of ground through Confederation Park following the cloaked tour guide, passed some of the most interesting and over-looked architecture in the core … all with stories of wrong doings, early deaths, and unpeaceful eternal rest.
Cross the street, and school gets scary: we gather outside the former Ottawa Teachers College watching for the shadow of the head school matron who’s been heard roaming hallways, creaking floor boards and slamming doors. Nearby, at Lisgar Collegiate, still the city’s largest high school, the spirit of a custodian has been spotted in attic windows revisiting the site of his tragic roof fall decades ago during an Ottawa snow storm.
Historic Rideau Canal and Fairmont Chateau Laurier
The tour meanders to the canal’s edge – The Rideau Canal, UNESCO historic site and crowning jewel of Ottawa spring, summer and especia
lly winter when it transforms into the world’s longest naturally freezing skating rink.
The day we are there, during a July heatwave, it clearly isn’t frozen. Small pleasure boats blare horns as they drifted through the dimming light drowning out some ghost tale. By this time, it’s dark; we’re outside the (dog-friendly) Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel, easily the most haunted place in Ottawa. Legend says original owner Charles Melville Hayes violently haunts the place, slamming windows and even throwing items. Why? He died on the Titanic before the completion of his prized project.
We end the tour on the pedestrian stairs under Rideau Street … and my dog Victor is tired. I finally get him to stay in the stroller, so I can push him back to Sparks Street then several blocks further to the parking garage. (Downtown parking is hard to find).
The tour is a great way to see downtown Ottawa. Sign up for a tour but make sure your pup is ready to walk. Right now, I’m wishing we had a room at the Fairmont Hotel, ghosts or no ghosts; we’d be in bed by now. Next time. For sure.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Check out our previous adventures in Ottawa at the Byward Market, the city’s historic farmers market, and beyond. Ottawa downtown is a walkable city and the centrally located Fairmont Chateau Laurier Hotel is dog-friendly for an extra $50 (with $5 going to a local rescue).
The Original Haunted Walk of Ottawa runs April to November and is dog-friendly. The company also runs a Jail Tour and a Haunted Jail Tour all year (not dog-friendly because it’s inside), and two Toronto tours: Spirits of the Distillery District (dog-friendly – check it out here) and The Original Haunted Walk of Toronto.
During this visit, we stayed in the Nepean area about 20-minutes from downtown at the dog-friendly Sandman Hotel, one of my favourite dog-friendly boutique hotels to date.
The Sandman Hotel is closer to the Ottawa airport and Wesley Clover Park – dog friendly and home to outdoor festivals including Grand Prix International Show Jumping in July. Check out our adventures on www.horsetrotting.net.