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.
If you follow my blog, you know I love history. History is what makes us who we are today. It defines our accomplishments and highlights our failures. Most importantly, it helps us move forward as a society.
A lot of my focus is Saskatchewan's history, but there's plenty of amazing history to be told in our neighbour province of Alberta too. From First Nations culture, through to early pioneers, the oil boom and the legacy the province today, there is always something to learn about when visiting Alberta.
My article "8 Places to Visit in Regina" is by far my most popular article, being read over 7,000 times in the past 6 months. In honour of the anniversary of my blog (and because 1 of the 8 locations mentioned before is now closed), I decided to do a sequel and talk about 8 more places to visit in Regina. This was really easy as Regina is growing at an extraordinary rate and new, incredible places are opening almost every week.
After the Regina Cyclone huffed and puffed and blew down the majority of houses across the city in 1912, Annie Darke asked her beloved Francis Darke to build her a house that could withstand even the worse things Saskatchewan could blow at it. Being one of the richest and most influential men in Regina’s history, Francis Darke took up the challenge and began to create his wife their very own stone castle.
This massive fortress served as their dwelling for the remainder of their days, until Francis Darke passed away in 1940 and his widowed wife passed away in the very house he had built her, twelve years later.
If you're visiting Alberta this summer, you probably have your heart set on visiting the mountains. After all, places like Lake Louise, Banff, Waterton and now Castle Provincial Park are some of the most beautiful sites in Canada, and they're always a hit on Instagram (if you're into that kind of thing). But, between Regina and the mountains is a whole province with plenty of sights to explore.
Last year I took more trips than I could count to southern Alberta, but most of them ended near Medicine Hat. Had I gone a bit further, I would have found myself in a myriad of attractions to see, from historical museums to sites of natural disasters and just about everything in-between.
For those looking to make a few stops on their way to the Rocky Mountains, or for those who are just looking for an Alberta road trip, here are six attractions you must visit while in southern Alberta.