Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour-4

We boarded a two and a half-hour Halloween-themed Vancouver Trolley Tour last night as The Black Widow and our chauffeur The Gypsy Pirate took our group around the city, retelling tales of murder, mystery, and unexplainable phenomena.

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Although a relatively new city, Vancouver has its share of murders, mysteries, and ghosts. The Black Widow is a member of the Afterlife, and with a thick European accent, is a fantastic storyteller. As the decorated trolley winds its way around Vancouver, we pass by reputedly haunted buildings.

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The tour begins and ends at Canada Place, where four tours per evening are offered. A scenic drive through Stanley Park reveals the story of Dead Man’s Island. In 1892, smallpox arrived in Vancouver via big ships. The sick were taken there to die. People sometimes claim to see a man in the fog on the island. 

Hotel Vancouver has a tale of the lady in the red gown, who’s been known to inhabit the hotel’s 14th floor. Once outside the downtown core, you’ll also discover Vancouver’s most haunted house.

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Other tales feature Joey and the Burrard Bridge, UBC, a World War One pilot who disappeared into English Bay, Leg-in-Boot Square in False Creek, Pacific Railway Station, Hycroft Mansion, and CKNW’s Rene Castellani. Rene’s story and creepy evidence of poisoning his wife with arsenic is included in the Vancouver Police Museum.

We also learned about West Broadway’s Toys ‘r’ Us building’s connection to the story, and wouldn’t you know it, spiked White Spot vanilla milkshakes also played a key role in the crime committed against Rene’s wife, Esther. As the milkshake thickens, so does the plot involving Rene, his wife, his mistress, and what ultimately led to his arrest.

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One of the evening’s highlights is a visit to the Police Museum, formerly the city morgue, where a live autopsy is about to get underway. Dark comedy coupled with a candlelit museum add to the atmosphere of the experience.

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Another stop is at the Mountain View Cemetery, owned and operated by the City of Vancouver since 1886. Our trolley dropped us off at one end, and we walked with the Black Widow to discover the gravestones of Joe Fortes, John Stanley Chisholm, and Janet Smith, their stories also revealed while aboard the tour. The trolley awaited us at the exit, dark and ominous all on its own.

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The Haunted Vancouver Trolley Tour definitely got us into the Halloween spirit. Visit the website for reservations and tour times. Note that this tour is for 13+ only and continues through October 31 (excluding Sundays and Mondays).

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