Strange things have been happening at Government House.
Six years ago, two adventurous ten-year-old girls arrived at Government House to begin their own personal investigation. Flashing bonafide "Ghost Detective" badges, Sam and J.J., interviewed the staff, explored the rooms and won the hearts of guests as they uncovered many of the secrets the house has to offer.
Their adventures inspired Canadian author Judith Silverthorne to write her book Ghosts of Government House, a tale about the two girls and their encounter with four ghosts – a monkey named Jocko, a little boy named Ben, a World War II veteran named Sheldon and a former cook named Cheun Lee, also commonly referred to as "Howie". Her book would become a favorite for children and, a year after its release, would be incorporated into Government House's Halloween special "Bump in the Night".
"Bump in the Night" has taken on a life of its own in recent years. Starting off modestly in 2012 with only 250 guests, it ballooned to over 1,000 guests by 2014. Last year was another record breaking year, and they expect to exceed that this year as well.
Running from 6 PM to 7:30 PM on Sunday, October 30th, "Bump in the Night" is the perfect excuse for kids (and adults!) to wear their Halloween costumes one more time before the big day. With free admission, the night begins with crafts and refreshments followed by two performances by Chester the Entertainer at 6:15 PM and 7 PM. Magicians were popular during the Victorian Era, and the staff at Government House will be able to teach history lovers a thing or two about some of the tricks these magicians once performed. Chester will be incorporating this Victorian Era theme into his performances, but with 21st Century luxuries like electricity and smoke machines.
Halloween gained popularity during the late Victorian Era and started many traditions that we celebrate today, such as dressing up in costume (Victorians believed this would ward away spirits as they would be unrecognizable), bobbing for apples, and fortune telling.
Guests are also welcome to try and solve the Mystery in the Museum; much like Sam and J.J. did six years ago. Once again statues are being turned around, mysterious water is appearing in copper bathtubs and chamber pots are moving by themselves. Throughout the house guests will find letters that spell out a clue pointing towards who, or what, is behind the mayhem.
Canadian author Judith Silverthorne will also be attending the event, and will be reading passages from her book throughout the night. There are even rumors of a sequel to Ghosts of Government House – one that involves the beautiful Edwardian gardens that encircle the house!
While in the museum remember to keep an eye out for paranormal activity. The house is known to have its fair share of spooky occurrences, such as moving mannequins, the sound of shuffling slippers, swinging mirrors, ghostly apparitions and even orbs. Staff and visitors alike have felt an unknown presence in the house for decades and many believe it isn't just Howie that haunts the halls. Perhaps there is something else in Government House that goes bump in the night.
When I first started this project, I didn't know what would come of it.
During my interview with the Saskatchewanderer, she recommended I approach Tourism Regina and see if I could write for them. Tourism Regina agreed and published my article, but due to it's size restrictions, I wasn't able to talk about as many places as I wanted to.
Since beginning this project, I have sent over three dozen emails to many organizations and businesses around the city. Once I was done my initial research, I had more questions than answers, some of which I don't think I'll ever know. Once realizing the vast amount of information out there, I decided to cut this project down substantially. But, although it ended up different then I thought it would, I am happy to finally present to you, "8 Places to Visit in Regina".
The Island of the Dolls is in Xochimilco, a borough south of Mexico City. While it would be faster to take a car from Mexico City to Xochimilco, the traffic is dense and the roads are very congested. Instead, if you're going there, I'd recommend taking metro, which is easy and the cheapest in the world. What you gain in comfort, however, you lose in speed, as the train ride takes about 2 hours.
Mexico City and Xochimilco both sit in the Valley of Mexico. Until about a millennium ago, the whole region around Mexico City was surrounded by a massive body of water. Over the centuries due to both climate change and interference by humans, most of this water has dried up, for the exception of Xochimilco. With networks of canals crisscrossing the borough, car transportation is difficult and water transportation is essential. I'm sure there were motorized boats somewhere in the waters of Xochimilco, but I never saw any. Instead, canoes and rafts are common on the water. However, the most popular vessel is a trajinera – a colourful gonadal-like boat that is pushed along the water with a wooden pole.
Xochimilco is known worldwide for their Floating Gardens market, which are essentially canoes floating down the canals, selling wares to tourists on trajineras. These include things like food, drinks, silver rings, trinkets, ponchos and sombreros. Occasionally other trajineras full of Mariachi bands will approach tourists and offer to play beside them on the water.
Part 12 of my cross Canada series takes us to the smallest province in Canada, Prince Edward Island. However, don't let the name confuse you: PEI is actually 232 islands!
PEI also happens to have smallest population of any province in Canada, with only 146,300 people as of 2014. This means this province has less people than my hometown Regina!
Being so small, however, it was difficult to find images on Instagram. That isn't to say there's nothing there worth seeing! Quiet the quandary, actually. PEI has a few very unique locations that drive their tourism. One of them is the gorgeous themed village of Avonlea, named after the village in the hit novel "Anne of Green Gables" published in 1908. This story, and the subsequent stories, follows Anne, a red-haired "fiery" orphan who grows up on PEI. The story is an international bestseller, and is strangely very popular in Japan (or so I've been told)!