GREMLINS IN THE BELLTOWER
Haunted Hamilton Ghost Walk Downtown Hamilton
This tour stop combined a myriad of elements that were perfect for our tour: a summer night stroll, historic buildings, a little theatricality, and the fact that it was an actual tour, so we looked the part with our camera and “I ♥ Hamilton Summer Tour 2011” tees. Haunted Hamilton hosts a variety of spooky events, including ghost walks, historical tours, bus trips, and parlour theatres. There are several ghost walks to choose from, but we went with the downtown one because it was a great opportunity to view some historic Hamilton sites, as it covered a lot of ground in our hour and a half walk. We also figured we could work our way up to the more daunting Hermitage ghost walk in Ancaster, perhaps for a future tour stop (Haunted Hamilton states it is the “creepiest” ghost walk they offer).
Still light outside when we arrived, Carly and I were the first ones there and, unsure of where to go, we reasoned that the man with the lantern and cloak was our best bet. We were joined by Avi and the rest of our tour group, which was made up of about 20 people. Lantern in hand and top hat on head, our tour guide began his introduction. This is where the theatricality kicked in, which is always appreciated by us. Our guide acted as storyteller and historian, performing tales almost as if they were monologues.
We garnered some attention and quite a few double takes from passersby as we travelled from place to place. I mean, really, have you never seen a man in a top hat and cape, holding a lantern and strolling the streets of downtown Hamilton? At one point, a couple eating ice cream moseyed into our group inadvertently and asked me what they wandered into.
Some of the sites we stopped at included The Royal Connaught Hotel, The Right House, Hamilton Place, Whitehern, and St. Paul’s Church. Stopping for historical facts and spooky ghost stories at each location, I almost felt like jotting down some notes, there was that much information I wanted to remember. At perhaps the most chilling moment on our walk, we ducked into a dark and deserted alleyway to hear a gruesome story about Jack the Ripper and his shocking connection to Hamilton.
Of course, any tour stop of ours is incomplete without a touristy photo shoot. We ended our night by posing with some statues, which were a nice contrast to our bright tour t-shirts.
An evening like this is another example of a Hamilton activity we’ve always wanted to do and we were happy to check it off our list. It also proves yet again how rich in history Hamilton is. We may not have spotted any ghosts, but we definitely learned a lot about our city.