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.
The past few weeks have been really busy for me, with a lot more time at the office and a lot less time travelling. Thankfully, the weekend is just around the corner and with it comes the possibility of a two day vacation. Having traveled to Lac La Ronge earlier this month, I've been thinking more and more about these short trips and how rejuvenating they can be.
Unfortunately, I haven't done as much travelling around Saskatchewan as I'd like, so I wasn't sure what the best places to visit were. There were of course the obvious choices such as Regina, Saskatoon and Moose Jaw, but I wanted someplace remote, yet somewhat close. For this project I approached some of my fellow travel bloggers and I got some ideas of what to go do and see for a weekend. I went through their ideas and came up with this short list of 5 weekend destinations in Saskatchewan.
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A few months ago I entered a contest for a trip for two to visit Philadelphia on Two Bad Tourists. Normally contests like this are limited to United States residents so when I saw this one was open to Canadians I jumped at the chance. I've never won something like this before, so I actually forgot about it until I got the emailing saying I had won. Two Bad Tourists then worked alongside Visit Philly to organise the trip for me and my mother to explore Philadelphia for three days. Visit Philly paid for our flights, hotels and gave us a VIP Pass to experience the city to our heart's content. It is thanks to them that this trip is possible.
Several movies and television shows have tried to capture the essence of Philadelphia over the years – from the boxing Blockbuster Rocky, to the paranormal thriller The Sixth Sense, to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and even Boy Meets World – but each described the city differently. There is no easy way to approach a city as dynamic as The City of Brotherly Love. With countless layers of art, history, religion and the paranormal, Philadelphia is a city unlike any other throughout the United States.
One thing that surprised me the most about Philadelphia was the history. The city was founded and designed by William Penn, who is also the state of Pennsylvania's namesake. Born in London, England in 1644 he lived through The Great Fire of 1666 and The Great Plague of London from 1665-1666. Both events shaped Penn's life so he designed the city to be strictly stone buildings (to stop fires from spreading) and to have plenty of space between the buildings (as to prevent illness from spreading). This led to the older areas of the city to have winding corridors between old stone walls.
150 years ago, Canada became a country, albeit a much smaller one. Since then, Canada has grown much in size, reputation and as a favorite for travellers from around the world. Lonely Planet recognized these accomplishments last year and ranked Canada as the #1 travel destination in 2017. With the addition of free National Parks all year long, 2017 is the perfect time to visit the Great White North!
I am always interested in Canadian adventures, so I thought I'd check out G Adventure's website to see what tours they have planned this year. Since G Adventures is a Canadian based travel company, I figured they would have something going on this year to celebrate our sesquicentennial. Instead, all I saw were the same eight tours as last year, and the year before. Thinking maybe there was some big announcement coming for 2017, I emailed G Adventures asking about it, hoping, praying, that maybe there was something, something, anything at all… but I received no response.
Now, don't get me wrong. G Adventures has eight great Canadian tours, and they all look really awesome, but they only show off a small sliver of what Canada has to offer. In fact, four of the tours are almost exactly the same: