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The Ghosts of Old Ontario Come Alive this Halloween at Black Creek Pioneer Village


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Black Creek Pioneer Village will again present two of its most popular seasonal events: Howling Hootenanny, a daytime event for children with many hands-on activities and All Hallows' Eve - a spine-tingling evening of Halloween traditions and blood-curdling legends set in the city's only authentically re-created historic Village. Howling Hootenanny will take place on the last two weekends in October, and All Hallows' Eve will take place on the two Saturday evenings, Oct. 23 and 30.

A special treat at this year's Howling Hootenanny is the new giant slingshot. Kids of all ages will be invited to load it up with crab apples and take aim at targets down in Black Creek Valley. Also during the first weekend of the Howling Hootenanny (Oct. 23 -24), the Canadian Gourd Society will present its annual Gourdfest at Black Creek Pioneer Village, a stunning showcase of beautifully carved gourds, sure to inspire pumpkin carvers of all ages.

"As our City becomes more multi-cultural, we meet many families who are new to Halloween traditions and so Black Creek Pioneer Village becomes a place to have fun, and a place to learn about our customs which have their roots in the past," said Marty Brent, general manager of Black Creek Pioneer Village. "Toronto's past is full of intriguing ghost stories and urban legends - there's no better way for families to immerse themselves in centuries of Toronto's history and folklore then by wandering through Black Creek Pioneer Village."


All Hallows' Eve and the Urban Legends of Yesterday

All Hallows' Eve, as Halloween was once known, was the night before All-Saints Day. Many believed that this was a special point in the year when the worlds of the living and the dead were intertwined. The supernatural fascinated people in early Ontario and many otherwise sensible people invested a great deal of effort in trying to contact loved ones who had died, such as a child or a spouse. At the same time, the invisible world of the dead was frightening and various practices were used to ward off evil spirits, such as hanging a broom over the doorway, leaving treats out to appease them, or placing a candle in a hollowed out gourd or pumpkin. Thus was born the delicious combination of excitement tinged with fear which still characterizes our Halloween traditions today.

The theme for this year's All Hallows' Eve is Urban Legends: Fact or Fiction. According to Geri Smith, project manager at Black Creek Pioneer Village, "what we call ‘urban legends' are really just today's versions of the horror stories and cautionary tales that have been told for centuries."

A highlight of the evening is the Ghost Walk, a rare opportunity to experience the Village at night. Visitors will hear ghost stories associated with the various buildings, and learn about the famous Fox Sisters, who claimed to be able to channel the dead, as well as learning the legend of the original "Bloody Mary." Visitors will also enjoy performances of mind-reading and illusions.

"People love the All Hallows' Eve experience here at the Village," added Smith. "It's entertaining and it gives you an understanding of where we've come from. Even something like today's urban legends have a history. It's fascinating when you start to see that."

For All Hallows' Eve, the Black Creek Brewery Restaurant will be presenting a special menu, including a variety of seasonal ales and zombie burgers. The Historic Black Creek Brewery will also be open. Visitors can sample a new Pumpkin Ale, brewed for the occasion in oak barrels, just the way the pioneers did it, or even take a growler of the beer home with them.


Howling Hootenanny - Halloween for the Whole Family

Alongside the evening events, Black Creek Pioneer Village has hosted the popular Howling Hootenanny for younger children for several years now. Costumes are encouraged!

"Howling Hootenanny is a great way to give your children a richer Halloween experience than just a giant sugar-fest," said Karell Pfeiffer, special events coordinator at the Village. "We have a full program for kids, including the Haunted Maze, Pumpkin Decorating, a Village wide Discovery Hunt, a Creepy Creature Show and good old-fashioned Trick or Treating."


Event Details

All Hallows' Eve runs from 7:00 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Oct. 23 and 30.
Admission is $20 in advance, $25 at the door. (Members $15 in advance, $20 at the door).

Howling Hootenanny runs from 11:00 am to 4:30 p.m. on October 23, 24, 30 and 31.
Admission is $15 for adults, $14 for seniors and students, and $11 for children 5-15.

For more information, please visit or

Black Creek Pioneer Village is located at 1000 Murray Ross Parkway, Toronto (one block east of Jane St., south off Steeles Avenue, right next to York University). The Village is south east of Hwy 7 and Hwy 400. Parking is available on site. For more information on the Black Creek Historic Brewery, visit, or call (416) 736-1733.




Media contact:
Eric Philpott
philpott | communications
(905) 773-6651


About Black Creek Pioneer Village
Black Creek Pioneer Village is Toronto's premier outdoor living history museum. Visitors can explore heritage homes and buildings restored to re-create an 1860s Ontario village. Historic interpreters in period dress demonstrate how villagers lived, worked and played. The Village hosts learning programs and special events that highlight local heritage and culture. The tranquil setting, rural landscapes, heritage gardens and period farm animal breeds make Black Creek Pioneer Village the perfect place to break out of the modern world and journey into the past. Located in north Toronto, Black Creek Pioneer Village is owned and operated by Toronto and Region Conservation (TRCA). For more information please visit


Black Creek Pioneer Village acknowledges support from the City of Toronto, the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture, The Conservation Foundation of Greater Toronto, and the public.