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The land where Lakeridge Health stands

Editor's Note: This story is part of a series called the Land Where We Stand (LWWS). Uncovering the hidden stories about the land our community is built on is what the Chronicle's feature series, the LWWS, is about.
HomeArtsHauntings at the Pickering Museum Village

Hauntings at the Pickering Museum Village

Prepare to be spooked at the Pickering Museum Village in a ghostly experience as you drive through the village this Halloween season.

Due to COVID-19, the museum has changed its operation to allow for vehicles to drive through and experience ‘The Haunted Ghost Drive-thru Tour’.

Instead of walking through the historical village, you drive your vehicle through the village at night immersing yourself in the history, while also listening to ghost stories of each building.

Pickering Museum Village supervisor Laura Gibb said, “the stories we gather are based from actual accounts from staff and volunteers, they are genuine experiences people have had in the buildings over the years.”

Gibb added: “The fact that the stories are based from real accounts, is pretty scary.”

To build the tour, museum officials asked staff members about their ghostly experiences at the museum. While each one was completely different, they all involved the same spirit.

“If you look close enough, we have had some people see some activity in some of the buildings,” Gibb said.

Pickering, Ont. (10/8/2020) A side view of the rode in the Pickering Museum Village.
A side view of a road in the Pickering Museum Village. Photo credit: Andrea Eymann

Starting at 7 p.m. every Thursday, each car is sent five minutes apart, with only one car in each section. An audio guide directs visitors around the village.

“It is like a walk-man with a speaker attached to it,” Gibb said, adding the audio equipment is sanitized after each visitor.

With the tours being done entirely from each vehicle, and all the staff wearing masks, and sanitizing everything they touch, it makes this a safe activity for the night out, Gibb said.

The tour tells stories the staff and volunteers have experienced in the building, but it also explains the historical context of each building and the families who once lived there in the 19th-century.

Gibb said they have had some younger children enjoy the tours, but they recommend the tour for people 12 and up. The cost is $20 per vehicle.

Pickering, Ont. (10/8/2020) A look at the Pickering Museum Village in its entirety.
A look at the main street in the Pickering Museum Village. Photo credit: Andrea Eymann

Attendance at the museum is down this year due to COVID-19, Gibb said.

However, she said they were eligible for a $100,000 COVID-19 relief fund which was administered through the department of the Canadian Heritage of the Government of Canada.

“That was a big help for us, especially when visitation was much lower this year,” Gibb said.

Having 19 heritage buildings on the 27-acre property, any extra revenue they receive goes towards preservation for all their buildings to keep the 19th-century feel of the village.

Gibb has been working in different museums from around the globe. She started her career in Australia and earned her master’s degree in museum studies in Sydney.

As a student, she had an internship at the Australian Tennis Museum. She returned home to Canada and started work in museums in Ottawa. Gibb then moved to Toronto and worked in museums for four years before landing in Whitby and starting this position two years ago.