January 11, 2015 will mark the 200th birthday of Sir John A. Macdonald—Canada’s first prime minister. Theatrical walking tours allow both students and adults to learn about Sir John’s achievements by walking in his footsteps. On these tours—named the Best of 2012 by Vacay.ca—professional actors and musicians from the SALON Acting Company dress in period costumes to regale guests with Sir John’s triumphs and scandals. The tours visit the hotel where Mackenzie King spoke to the dead, the Market Square where the first Canada Day was celebrated in 1867, and the home of Sir John’s arch nemesis.
But the celebration of Sir John isn't limited to tours alone. The Sir John A Macdonald Bicentennial Commission was founded to throw him a party, and like all great parties, its more than a year long. The cross-Canada celebration highlights Sir John’s life and achievements while weaving in entertainment to engage youth as part of the Young Canadians Project. Sir John, Eh? The Musical, for instance, serves as a rock 'n' roll tribute to the man—or his ghost, at least—by spinning the tale of a group who encounter his specter on a summer night spent in Cataraqui Cemetary.
In an effort to ignite the creative spirits of the Adirondack area’s residents, View regularly hosts events and activities focused on and inspired by the fine arts. Workshops center around hands-on instruction in various artistic mediums, such as woodworking, jewelry making, and photography. The organization’s calendar also features performances, exhibitions, and special events ranging from antiques shows to waterfront house tours done atop party barges or herds of saddled alligators. Located in Old Forge, View’s new 28,000-square-foot LEED-certified building serves as a hub for the group’s activities, housing fine arts studios, exhibition galleries, and a performance hall.
When the founders of Adirondack River Outfitters first took their raft to the shores of Moose River, they didn't know it was widely renowned as one of the wildest, most intense waterway in the region. The spirited New Yorkers were just looking for adventure, fun, and a means to explore their homeland's natural beauty. After falling in love with the river's tumultuous rapids and scenic surrounding wilderness, the trailblazers began honing their rafting skills with regular trips, eventually bringing their friends and family along for the ride.
More than three decades later, the group of adventurous guides continues to lead tours down Moose River. The guides, however, have since expanded their inventory of trips to include three other major New York rivers, each characterized by unique classes of rapids and magnificent rural backdrops. A cheerful bunch, the guides always end trips with a homemade barbecue, along with thrilling stories, good-hearted jokes, and impressive recitations of the first 34 digits of pi.
Draped in a black cloak, a figure holds a lantern to light the way along a weathered stone wall. As the tour group follows, the cloaked leader recounts a story, perhaps a tale about Canada’s last working gallows, or perhaps about the riots that once overtook the streets. Though Haunted Walk’s guides are well known for their theatrical flair, the tales they tell are not so well known. As they lead walking tours of Kingston, Ottawa, and Toronto, the guides unveil fascinating yet rarely told tales of each city’s dark side. Narrations may include ghost stories backed by eye-witness accounts, or the underpinnings of a nefarious political plot, such as a plan to draw moustaches on every image of the queen. Private tours are also available.