Cemetery tours in Niagara Falls

RAY SPITERI, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 10:42 AM ET

It's that time of year when the spirits of some of the most famous people in Niagara Falls history come to life.

Volunteers at the city's museums began offering their annual cemetery tours of Drummond Hill cemetery over the weekend.

The nighttime tours, which take visitors through the final resting place of those buried in what is believed to be one of the most haunted cemeteries in Canada, continue this Friday and Saturday, as well as Oct. 29 and 30. The tours run at 7 p.m., 8 p.m. and 9 p.m.

"It connects the history and lives of people that came before us to today," said Clark Bernat, manager of the City of Niagara Falls Museums.

Tours include music, theatrical scenes, costumed performers and vignettes of people who are buried in the cemetery.

The rain-or-shine tours are developed and directed by staff, with help from more than 60 volunteers.

Glen Burkholder, who is one of about 35 character actors, will portray Austin Morse, who was the founder of Morse & Son Funeral Home.

Morse is buried at Drummond Hill cemetery, along with several other generations of Morses who followed in his legacy, said Burkholder.

"Visitors will see several headstones, each headstone is candle lit and there will be a person portraying each person buried in that spot," said Burkholder. "It's a lot of fun, both for the visitors and for the character actors."

In a neat twist, Ernie Morgan, president of Morse & Son Funeral Home, has donated his fully restored 1882 horse-drawn hearse to be on display during the tours.

Burkholder said along with soldiers who fought in the War of 1812 and Laura Secord, another interesting person who will be portrayed is William Dalton, who was a curator at the cemetery for years.

"He documented a lot of information of every burial he was involved with," said Burkholder. "He wrote all kinds of history about the cemetery, a journal of every burial. He provided a lot of history to that cemetery that otherwise would not be remembered."

Shows are appropriate for audiences over the age of eight years, organizers say.

Tickets are $9 and are available by reservation only by visiting the Niagara Falls History Museum's temporary location at the Niagara Falls armoury, 5049 Victoria Ave., or by calling 905-358-5082.

rspiteri@nfreview.com


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