“It’s very easy to be surrounded by history in Halifax.”
It’s cold and dark as I make my way up the steps to the town clock on Citadel Hill, the perfect setting for ghost stories. It’s the last Sunday before Halloween, and I’m there to meet Andy Smith, the owner of Tattle Tours and my guide for tonight’s Halifax Ghost Walk.
There are close to 30 people joining the tour tonight, a mix of guests from Newfoundland to Ontario to Alberta. We’re all there for the same reason – to get a peek at the underbelly of the city – the seedier side of Halifax’s history.
Andy gives us an overview of what we can expect for the evening. “A lot of odd things have taken place here,” he tells us, “there’s a lot of unsettled business in Halifax”.
The group follows Andy from the town clock to the site of the first murder in Halifax, a place many locals and visitors unknowingly walk over every single day. He is an animated and engaging story-teller, pulling us all in from the very first tale.
Over the next two hours, Andy guides us through downtown Halifax, recounting twenty tales – a mix of history, legend, and spooky sightings around the city. He is skilled at taking the mood from light and jovial to the edge of tension, then back again.
I learned some things about my city that I didn’t know – like the reason the town clock facing Duke Street is stuck at 9:06. It froze there at the moment of the Halifax explosion, and while the front clock at City Hall reads the correct time, the Duke Street clock was left frozen in time as a permanent reminder.
It isn’t the only reference to Halifax tragedies tonight. He weaves in quite a few supernatural connections to the Halifax Explosion and our Titanic connection.
Andy tells us that when he started his tours nine years ago, he was skeptical about ghosts. But over the course of more than 3,000 ghost tours, that skepticism has since passed. Indeed, the stories that scare me the most along the tour are ones that Andy and his tour guests have personally witnessed – rare personal encounters with the supernatural characters that fill his tales.
It is his long history of giving these tours that also make his ghost walk so interesting. Andy has become a beacon for ghostly information in Halifax. His work tends to attract all things supernatural. He weaves his past experiences on the tours, addendums added by his tour guests, and tales from fellow Haligonians that have sought him out to tell their tales into his walk. It has made the tour an evolving resource on Halifax ghosts and odd Halifax histories.
I took the tour a few years ago. I recall thoroughly enjoying it then, but revisiting the tour teaches me even more about the city than I remember. And Andy is the perfect person to tell these tales. A film and television actor by profession, his Halifax Ghost Walk is an animated ride through the famous people, places, events, and strange occurrences that have shaped our city.
I always try to avoid too many spoilers when it comes to tours – Andy, and other great Nova Scotian tour guides, work hard on their content and spend hundreds of hours researching and investigating the tales that find their way to them. If you take the tour, expect to learn about a grave that makes many passersby feel ill with yellow fever symptoms, a Halifax victim of the Titanic who has had trouble letting go of his earthly business, the story behind the oldest grave in Halifax, and many, many more stories of Halifax’s past (and still lingering) residents.
This tour is not just for Halloween! It’s a fun, unique look at the city any time of the year, and an affordable, fun excursion for locals or visitors.
Wednesday, Friday & Sunday Night @ 7:30 PM
May – October
Note: As you can probably tell from our bio, title, and blog content, we are fierce supporters of the East Coast. We love our little corner of the world dearly, and we want to show you as many amazing things to see and do here as we can. Tattle Tours let us tag along for free, a huge help in enabling us to continue providing posts on amazing experiences close to home. The opinions in this post are our own.