Haunted histories tour exposes the darker side of Brockville
BROCKVILLE -- The Brockville Museum is highlighting some of the more spooky and unknown parts of history from around the town with a new guided tour.
With the museum open once again, programming has to be done a bit differently due to COVID-19 restrictions.
"Some of the ways we’ve been doing that is through some virtual content, but also through outdoor activities," says Natalie Wood, Curator and Director at the Brockville Museum.
"The walking tour was something we had planned on doing in the summer, but took on a whole new definition this year," Wood said.
"We were able to kind of rev up and bring it back this fall, which kind of worked well for the topic anyway."
Guided tours are not new for the city, with past ones covering criminal pasts and waterfront history, done by the Brockville Tourism office.
This year the museum worked with the tourism office to revamp the tour, bringing a museum like feel with more interpretation.
"We’ve definitely got new stories; it goes a little bit more in depth in a different way and people love this topic. This is always a super popular topic,” said Wood.
Peggy Hause, the interpretation and public programs coordinator at the museum, is the tour guide, and groups are limited to 12 people.
"We’ll see some of the old buildings, sites of old cemeteries and really just places of interesting stories,” Hause said.
"The walks are an hour and a half but that really depends on the speed of everyone and how many questions we have. It’s about three kilometres going through some of the older areas of Brockville.”
Some of the history includes Victoria Park, where children now play. It was once a cemetery, with the large trees rumoured to be the spots of old gravestones.
Standing out front of first Presbyterian Church across from the Brockville Courthouse, Hause tells the crowd about bones being unearthed and kids kicking skulls down the street.
The story sending gasps and shivers through the crowd.
"The best part of the walk is probably the interesting stories and history that we get to tell to people that you may never know even if you grew up in Brockville," said Hause.
"We have a lot of fun just shedding some light on some of the darker history."
Jessica Barabash and Patrick Cooper enjoyed the stories.
"It was fantastic! I think the takeaway is Brockville is spooky, but beautiful,” said Barabash.
"Lots of hidden history that a lot of people don’t know of. Some people think they know a lot but there is always more to uncover,” added Cooper.
A group of women new to Brockville also enjoyed seeing different parts of the city.
"Seeing some of the neighbourhoods that we don’t normally walk, and some of the beautiful houses that we have here in Brockville,” said Catherine.
"It’s really exciting and interesting to see. We loved it. A lot of history!” added Terry.
Hause advises people to dress appropriately for the cooler temperatures.
"Definitely dress warm, wear shoes that you can walk in and if you want water definitely bring it with you."
"If people feel more comfortable wearing masks they are definitely welcome to wear them. We are just playing that by how many people we have in a group at the moment," Hause added.
Haunting Histories guided tours take place every Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. until October 30, and tickets can be booked online at the Brockville Museum website.