‘Tis the spooky season

Winnipeg tour companies have Halloween-related offerings

The Fort Garry Hotel is one of the allegedly haunted locations explored in the Broadway Ghost Walk.

If you feel too old for Boo at the Zoo, but are too scared for a haunted forest, you might feel like your only option this Halloween season is to stay at home, eat candy and rewatch your favourite horror movie. However, a Halloween-themed walking tour or trolley ride might be what many Winnipeg adults are looking for.

“We have two main tours based on paranormal phenomena,” Kristen Treusch, owner and operator of SquarePeg Tours, says.

“I’m talking about the causes of paranormal phenomena and different ways in which they present themselves,” she says. These two tours are the Broadway Ghost Walk and the Seven Oaks Museum Investigation.

Treusch is also booking for the Exchange District Ghost Walk, run by local author Matthew Komus.

SquarePeg Tours still has some availability leading up to Halloween. The Broadway Ghost Walk has spots on Oct. 28, 29 and 31. The Seven Oaks Museum Investigation has availability on Oct. 23. The Exchange District Ghost Walk has spots open on Oct. 22, 23, 28, 29, 30 and 31.

Benjamin Gillies is the executive directorof the Winnipeg Trolley Company. He says the COVID-19 pandemic has created numerous challenges for businesses like his over the past year and a half.

Even as restrictions have loosened in Manitoba, many companies have not returned to pre-pandemic customer levels.  Specifically, international travel restrictions

have been particularly detrimental.

“In a normal year, we have a lot of visitors from across Canada, as well as from around the world,” Gillies says.

Despite this, the Winnipeg Trolley Company’s tours have been filling up quickly this fall. In fact, they have sold out the Trolley of Terror tour. However, their Highlights and Unknown Sites tour still has spots on Oct. 23, 24, 30 and 31. Furthermore, the Ale and Cocktail Trail tour, which includes brewery tours and a crash course in beer tasting, has availability on Oct. 22.

“In 2020, we actually didn’t operate at all as an in-person tour company,” Gillies says. However, the Winnipeg Trolley Company found ways to adapt.

“We did instead develop a smartphone application and created a (self-guided) walking tour down Broadway,” he says. “This is a mix of talking about the history of Broadway, as well as doing a bit of a culinary tour.”

The Winnipeg Trolley Company Tours app can be downloaded on the App Store or on Google Play for $6.99.

Both the Winnipeg Trolley Company and SquarePeg Tours have implemented COVID-19 safety precautions.

“We do operate at reduced capacity,” Gillies says, adding that “people do wear masks onboard the trolley, as well as inside the place where we visit.”

“Currently, everyone does need to be double vaccinated,” he says.

SquarePeg Tours is requiring masks, limiting their groups sizes and offering the possibility of booking private tours to avoid mixing with other patrons. They will check vaccination status for the indoor parts of their tours.

More information on how to book with the Winnipeg Trolley Company can be found at winnipegtrolley.ca. More information on how to book with SquarePeg Tours can be found at squarepegtours.ca.

Published in Volume 76, Number 6 of The Uniter (October 21, 2021)

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