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Town offering walking tour of Okotoks' historic haunts

Okotoks Museum and Archives and Okotoks District & Historical Society hosting tenth annual ghost tours in historic downtown
Ghost Tours2
Okotoks historian Karen Peters is one of three ladies leading ghost tours through Okotoks on Oct. 29 and 30, telling tales curated over the decades of hauntings and horrors hidden behind the town's more aged facades. (File photo Brent Calver/OkotoksTODAY

The Town of Okotoks will be offering a ghastly walk through the historic downtown.

For the tenth year, the Okotoks Museum and Archives and Okotoks District & Historical Society are hosting their annual ghost tours, giving patrons a taste of the spookier side of history.

“It’s about an hour long, all outside, and a nice walk through the downtown area of Okotoks, where we talk about spooky things, ghost stories, and a little bit of history about the town as well,” said museum specialist Nagille Walsh-Besso. 

While last year was limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event was still a hit.

“Because it was an outside event, we were able to continue last year,” Walsh-Besso said. “Everybody enjoyed it and it was a nice distraction from the things that were going on, and it's a fun thing to do around Halloween.”

Walsh-Besso, along with fellow historians Kathy Coutts and Karen Peters, will lead their charges on a tour of eight stops along McRae, Elma, and North Railway Streets.

While hesitating to spoil the story, Walsh-Besso’s favourite scare lies on Elma Street.

“I won’t tell the full story, but I have a story I really like about the Mahon House—the house across from the (Rotary) Performing Arts Centre,” she said. “But you’ll have to actually come on the tour to find out."

Other popular stories told are the Okotoks Junior High School’s “George the Janitor”, or the lady haunting the old train station (now the Okotoks Art Gallery).

Museum specialist Kathy Coutts said while ghost stories are inherently macabre, they are still family-friendly.

“We recommend ages 13 and over, but parents know their kids best,” Coutts said.

“We’ve often had three generations—teens, parents, and grandparents—come, we’ve had neighbours, we’ve had people who work together come on the tour.

“We have a wide range of people who come, and it really is a fun evening.”

Tours will last approximately one hour, with six tour times available between 6:30 and 9 p.m. on Oct. 29 and 30. There are 15 tickets available per group, at a cost of $5, which Coutts said has not increased in the ten year history of the event.

Ticket sales are all online this year. For more information visit https://www.okotoks.ca/your-community/living-okotoks/community-event-calendar/ghost-tours


Brent Calver

About the Author: Brent Calver

Award-winning photojournalist for the Okotoks Western Wheel and OkotoksToday.ca
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