Victor the schnoodle got his Scooby Doo on during our Creepy Caledonia haunted tour in Caledonia, Ontario. This time without any meddling kids, or ghostly sightings.
But he sure loved travelling in a pack, sniffing downtown streets along with Sasha – who actually resembles the cartoon Shaggy companion – and a new friend brought along for the walk. Dogs are welcome on this small-town tour, which blends historical facts with speculative netherworld tales.
Here’s one thing I learned:
About two centuries ago, Hamilton, Ontario was connected to beach town Port Dover by a wooden plank road built labouriously one piece at a time. Stagecoaches travelling the route would stop midway overnight – in Caledonia – because robbers (not ghosts) lurked in the dark, so Steeltown to Lake Erie’s shore was a two-day trip. (Today it’s a 90-minute drive).
Ok, that’s not a ghost story – unless you include the tale about the 19th century boy living at the mid-point hotel who allegedly doodled bank account numbers channeled from his dead father when he and his mother weren’t making ends meet. However, the road was real, and it’s one of the historical fun facts that are the foundation of this tour.
Inside the old city hall built in 1857 is North America’s only Gypsum museum. (It’s a hoot of a town).
But it was a fun tour made more enjoyable because Victor couldn’t have been happier even though he had no idea why we were following a tall young man in a black top hat carrying a lantern.
Ian Thompson leads these tours six times a year on select dates June to October, culminating with the Caledonia Halloween Festival at the Fairgrounds on Oct. 24, 2015. Thompson, now a history major at McMaster University, started Creepy Caledonia four years ago while still in high school, out of a passion for local history.
The only indoor stop on the route is the Grand Trunk railway station, one of a few left, restored to a time when typewriters didn’t plug in and black and white photographs captured ghostly orb-like blurs (now hanging on the wall). Outside we stopped at the St. Paul’s Anglican Cemetery because what’s a ghost tour without a graveyard?
The two-hour adventure starts at the Caledonia Agricultural Fair Grounds, 151 Caithness Street East, at 7pm so get there at 6:45 pm with five dollars (and a tip) in hand and you’re good to go.
No extra charge for the dog; just bring a leash (and some Scooby snacks).
Loved this? Check out Victor loving (or not) more historic train stuff in St. Jacobs, Ontario.
STUFF: If you can’t get enough of ghost stories, checkout some from the cities near by such as Haunted Hamilton and Haunted Toronto available on Amazon.
TRAVEL GUIDE: Caledonia is a small town part of Haldimand County, Ontario, Canada. The Grand River is the draw, primarily for fishing but also boating and Harrison Landing along Highway 54 is a popular launch site. Grand River Dinner Cruises run sight seeing boat trips along the river May to October. See previous blog post commentary about area dog parks.
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