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.
As this was my first time flying a kite, I'm proud to say I only crashed it about thirty times. Thankfully, my instructor said, the kite wasn't too expensive and was made for crash landings. After one particular sharp nose-dive, however, he came over to show me what I was doing wrong. After a few minor adjustments, I kicked the kite back into the air and managed to do my first loop.
The field we were in was empty that day. Within 24 hours, however, the field would be full of kite enthusiasts from across the world. Many of the kite flyers were from Canada and the United States, but some even came as far away as London, Germany and New Zealand. At only 13 years old, the SaskPower Windscape Kite Festival has become internationally renowned to kite flyers around the world.
When people think of kites, they might think of the classic diamond shaped kite of Charlie Brown. However, these days there are many different kinds of kites, and each with their own unique design and purpose.
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.
Love poutine, Justin Trudeau and just about everything Québécois? G Adventures had the right idea including Montréal in two of their Canadian tours, but Montréal isn't the only noteworthy place to visit in Québec. Now, this tour doesn't give Québec the justice it deserves either, but hopefully it inspires you to take your time to explore the wonders it has to offer. Québec is a beautiful province with a long history, stretching back over four centuries, so this tour is dedicated to the incredible history and culture of French Canada.
Our fictional tour starts in Montréal. If you've read my Five Historic Canadian Cities article last week, you already know Montréal is one of Canada's most lively cities. Packed with some of Canada's most impressive scientific museums, Montréal is also home to an archeological and historical museum, Pointe-à-Callière. Inside one of the most unique buildings in Old Montréal, this museum ventures deep into the history of the city and explores its foundation, its struggles and its changes. With 375 years of history, to uncover this museum starts off with the discovery of Hochelaga and showcases various sections of the original sewer system. The museum also has several illustrations showing the plagues and fires that once decimated the early city. The museum also has an interactive section about the pirates that once terrorized the St. Lawrence River. This museum is one of my absolute favorites, so if you love museums as much as I, you'll want to check it out.