So when my daughter made me aware that she misses my undivided attention, I thought that I must make some quality time for all of us, especially for me and the hubby.
When I found out that we would have the opportunity to do a paranormal investigation with a real team of investigators, I knew that was our next date night!
Whenever we are on a road trip I always pick up brochures at hotels and stops, and scan the highway for those blue or brown signs that announce attractions and landmarks to visit in that area. If you're following along to our family's journey, I'm constantly on the lookout for fun new things to do. Not everything I find for our family to do is online.
Only by driving by the Lost Villages Museum near Cornwall, Ontario, and freaking out over their sign that said "Ghost Hunt", did I find out about Bytown Paranormal.
My husband and I are fans of ghost hunting shows. In the past, we have visited many sites that we have seen investigated on shows like Ghosthunters like the Cornwall Jail and Fort Henry. But this...THIS was even better. Bytown Paranormal allows you to join in on their investigation!
We got there in the evening and while meeting some of the guests and members, and listening to them talk about their experiences... I got the impression that everyone (including myself) was here because they experienced something in their past that they can't explain. I believe in the power of energy, but can the dead be a part of the energy around us? For this activity, it's not about believing or not believing in ghosts, it's about investigating things to see if they can be explained scientifically, which Bytown Paranormal taught very well.
If you're wondering if this is an activity for your FAMILY: I'd really recommend it for older kids. I don't think ours would have been able to stay awake past the time it started at, let alone stay still during the 4 hour investigation. There was a family that attended with us and the children were older, really well behaved and asked really great questions. Ghost hunters seem to love when children participate in investigations because of that belief that children have that "6th sense", and hope that they'd be able to capture more data when they are around.
The Lost Villages
A little background of the Lost Villages: they are a series of villages that disappeared with the growth of the Saint-Lawrence-Seaway. Business buildings and homes were able to be salvaged from this area, and moved to the site of the Lost Village Museum:
That night, the attendees were split into two groups and we took turns going into three buildings that were moved to the Lost Villages Museum site, with an investigator from the team: the Sandtown Church with Sandra, the Stuart house which had a Freemason lodge in the upstairs with Eric, and the McLeod log cabin with Cindy.
Some of the rooms in the buildings we investigated.
The entire team that was there that night were so nice and very professional. When they conducted the investigations, they encouraged everyone to ask questions themselves. They allowed everyone to hold their equipment to experience it themselves too which was really interesting.
I brought my camera along, more hoping to get some cool, eerie shots than expecting to capture a ghost, and they were open to that as well.
I wish I could say that we "saw something" that night, but we didn't. I heard that the other group had more happenings, but the only thing that happened in our three investigations happened in the church when a piece of equipment that another attendee brought went off a few times - one of those times was a split second after I snapped a photo with my flash on!
It was however very interesting to learn more about the history of the buildings and the stories of the people who lived there.
After the three sessions, they played some videos in the school house and displayed a very large collection of ghost hunting tools and gadgets.
An activity for the parents without little ones? CHECK!
Spending quality time together doing something new and fun? CHECK!
Crossing off an item off that proverbial bucket list? CHECK!
If you want to try this out for yourselves, be sure to follow Bytown Paranormal on Facebook and Instagram to find out about their public events.
We are a fourth generation railroading family. When I met my husband, I quickly became interested in the railroad industry, trains and it's history. Because I'm a nerd. In case you haven't figured that out yet...
I remember sitting and listening to stories his grandfather would tell about working on the rails, and was so proud when my husband followed in the family career tradition. Anything to do with trains, I am on it!
So when I came across this pin on Pinterest just last month, I wondered how the heck we hadn't heard about this before!
I quickly set up camping reservations in Charleston Lake and planned a road trip for the following week!
Brockville, Ontario is home to the first train tunnel ever built in Canada and has been boarded up and lying under the city for decades.
I keep telling everyone who asks about it: I want to meet the genius who had the idea to open it up for the public to enjoy. Part exhibit, part trail, part light and sound experience, this is the coolest train excursions we have ever done!
The railway tunnel itself was left untouched, and the floor was redone to connect it to the Brock Trail, a paved walking and cycling trail through the city of Brockville. At the main entrance there is a railway track pattern imprinted into it. It would have been so cool if it was like that all the way through, but I kind of like how it was only at the beginning and faded away and matched the rest of the Brock Trail's paved path, alluding to the changing times. However, do be careful, the tunnel was designed and built to allow runoff water to slip through so it doesn't collapse, so the floor is a bit slippery in places.
Along the edges of the paved trail are lines of LED lights that not only illuminate the tunnel's walls, but will change colours along with different songs playing in the tunnel. Notably, it was all Canadian artists: we were jamming to Great Big Sea and the Tragically Hip while we walked. One awesome effect was the sound of the train whistle and red light that came through the tunnel - almost like a ghost train. Each time time this happened, the kids and I would just freeze and stare down the tunnel and follow the "train" with our eyes and ears.
When the lights stayed white, all the mineral deposits and little rock crevices where railroad workers made their mark over a hundred years ago were illuminated for us to see. Check out this photo of our daughter catching drips of filtered water from the tunnel's ceiling:
This was the week of our vacation during the heat wave - so this activity was some much needed relief from the heat. The tunnel runs almost 60 feet under the city of Brockville so it was nice to cool off.
Along the way are street signs that tell you where you are in the city above. The tunnel even passes under city hall! You can also find signs with old photographs and information about how the tunnel was made and history of the train industry.
I want to give a shout out to Lindsay at LindsayEmma.com for sharing about her adventures - her blog post and photographs made me plan this little road trip from Montreal to Brockville. If you happen to be on my blog looking for cool things to do around Ontario, do check out Lindsay's blog as well!
If you want to visit the railway tunnel, check out the official site. It's about 2 hours from Montreal and an hour from Ottawa. Entry is free, but you can make a donation at the entrance.
Melissa is a mom, wife, and early childhood educator who blogs about her journey looking for new experiences for family time.