Apparently Colwood has plenty of spooky places that go bump in the night.
To prove it, the city is opening the book on its dark history with the newly-minted Colwood Haunted Heritage tours, taking participants on a journey to familiar locations, with perhaps an unfamiliar past.
“Ghost stories are fascinating because it is the unknown. It always seems to spark an interest when you have stories like that,” said life-long Colwood resident and city administrator Marcy Lalande.
“I love hearing stories from the old times. We have some pretty neat people in this community and we want to highlight that.”
The opportunity is there for history buffs, residents and the municipality to jump on board and spread the word of Colwood, she said.
“It is a branding of the city and not just a tour. We have been looking at ways to fundraise for the Colwood Heritage Commission,” Lalande said. “It brings awareness to Colwood, that (it has) lots of hidden treasures.”
Taking the reins of the bus tour is well-known historian John Adams. Bringing a deep trove of knowledge of haunted nooks and crannies of Greater Victoria, the 15-year tour veteran will lead the uninitiated through Hatley Castle, Fort Rodd Hill and Pendray House. Don’t be surprised if the group diverts to a cemetery or two along the way.
“I have a number of stories I have heard over the years but I haven’t had an opportunity to (tell),” Adams said. “There are so many good stories.”
The former member of the Old Cemeteries Society of Victoria is well known for his deep historical knowledge of the city and the unexplained, including a story of Laura Dunsmuir, wife of James Dunsmuir, who lost her son to a torpedo and spent the rest of her life waiting for her lost child to come home to the Hatley Castle.
Unexplained tales of Laura Dunsmuir’s ghost pulling the covers off of sleeping cadets during the property’s military college days are among a eerie tales sure to keep ears perked and hair on the back of necks at attention.
“I tell (stories) from a historical point of view. Telling it in a way of a ghost story brings it to life,” Adams said. “I hope in telling these stories I will connect people with their community and find out some of the history they might not have known.”
With special permission to enter specific areas not open to the public, Adam promises interesting insight into the Colwood’s history, haunted or not.
“Colwood (is) a very historic and important part of the area … (So this) will be an eye opener,” Adams said. “I hope (people) come out feeling a little more connected with their community – from the past and the present.”
Bus tours run May 24, 25, 26, 7 to 9 p.m. Tickets are $25 and sold at Colwood city hall, the Coast Collective gallery and Royal Roads gift shop. The first stop and meeting location is Fort Rodd Hill.