There seems to be a trend recently in city tours. Instead of showing people around the traditional sites, an increasing number of tours are opting to explore the creepy, unmentionable, dark and spooky sides of cities.
Vancouver is no exception. Mountain View Cemetery, the city’s oldest, recently offered a tour invitingly titled “Murders in Early Vancouver and Other Accidental Deaths.” Sadly (or maybe not, depending on your perspective), this was a one-time event. But it got me thinking about other examples of alternative and creepy tours around the city. Here’s a short list. Do you know other examples? Please share by leaving a comment below:
Sins of the City Walking Tour: Offered by the Vancouver Police Museum, this tour takes visitors out onto the streets of Chinatown and Gastown to explore the city’s dark past. In Chinatown, you learn of the old opium dens and the early drug trade. In Gastown, guides offer a colourful overview of what was once Vancouver’s red light district. The tour also touches on prohibition-era Vancouver, when bootleggers and gangsters battled for control of the city with the police. Offered Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays at 4 p.m., through Oct. 2. $15 adults (not recommended for kids). More info.
Coroner’s Forensic Exhibit at the Vancouver Police Museum: This one isn’t exactly a tour, but it’s still quite spooky. The Vancouver Police Museum is housed in what used to be the city coroner’s office. From 1932-1980, nearly 20,000 autopsies were performed here. Upstairs, the museum has left the morgue and autopsy room intact as part of an exhibit. You can see the refrigerated lockers, steel gurneys, bone saws, etc., as well as a collection on Vancouver’s most notorious serial murders. Again, this isn’t for everyone, but it’s interesting in a creepy way. $7 adults. More info.
Mountain View Cemetery Bike Tour, Sept. 11: Vancouver’s oldest cemetery, the 106-acre Mountain View welcomed its first “resident” in 1886. Some of the city’s earliest settlers and founding fathers are buried there, and the grave sites are a treasure trove of local history and lore. In total, Mountain View has 92,000 grave sites and 145,000 sets of interred remains. And, if you’re curious, 2,000 new spaces have just opened up after a new construction project. $10. Sept. 11 at 1 p.m. Meet at Celebration Hall, off of 39th Avenue. More info.
Know of any other creepy or alternative tours of Vancouver? Please let us know by leaving a comment below.