The Haunted Barrel Works
In the last few years I have really been trying to hit as many dark rides as I can during my coaster trips. A few trips are even more dark ride related than coaster related. My trip to Toronto was definitely that way. I have never gone so far out of the way for a dark ride, but it was well worth it.
How is toront out of the way well it isn't, but centreville isn't exactly in the heart of toronto. to get there, you first have to find the pier that launches ferries to centre island, which is basically at the base of younge street, but not really well identified. then, you must take a 15 minute ferry ride out to the island. then, you have a bit of a walk to the park. the park is integrated into the island with no gates. it is a park oriented for kids, with a powered coaster and a small log ride in addition to some small flat rides. in the heart of a park, hidden behind a ticket booth,with no real fa�ade, is the haunted barrel works., the longer my journey lasted the more i said to myself, "this ride can't be very good, it's way too far out of the way". well, i was totally wrong. what i found was a very well maintained in-house built dark ride in great shape, and it had some awesome stunts inside., centreville amusement park was started back in 1966 by warren beasley. the land is owned by the city of toronto, but the beasley family still owns the park. the dark ride even has a beasley engineering stamp on it. the haunted barrel works was built in-house in 1970 and has slowly been upgraded over the years. inside, there are some classic funni frite stunts, and some excellent in-house stunts. the cars aretaken from an old flat ride, and are painted like barrels. there are weird little bars on each side that had to be added after a safety inspection to help keep folks sitting down. also, instead of the chicken wire we are used to in the us to keep ragamuffins from destroying the stunts, they had to use plexiglass, since the wire was deemed a danger to fingers. this did make picture taking a bit more difficult, since glare was an issue, and i was not planning on getting a guided tour of the ride., i was offered a tour by shane beasley, a second generation family member who runs the park with his brother and sister. they seem to take great pride in the park, and it shows. the park was quite clean, and the ride ops were very friendly. since the park was practically empty due to it being a cold, misty, overcast afternoon, no one was riding so we had plenty of time to tour the ride. i found out that the only reason they hadn't closed due to the weather was because they had sold some all-day wrist bands in the morning, and felt obligated to stay open normal hours, in spite of the fact that there were probably ten times as many employees as there were customers in the park. i'm glad they did, and it said a lot about the park, and its management team., shane allowed me to take photos of each stunt, and video too. most of the stunts are triggered by switches under the wheels that are driven over, closing the circuit, instead of more typical flags witches. also, many of the stunts work on on and off switches, instead of timed switches. some have different switches for lighting and action of the same stunt. they are timed very well too. i commented that one stunt seemed off, you saw a coffin tilting forward, but the light went out before you saw what was in it, but you still heard something thumping around in it. shane commented that is how it was supposed to be, you are more scared by not seeing what was in it, but knowing it was there by the sound still occurring in the darkness. excellent he was right it really worked better that way, in a hitchcockian sense..
Back in the late 90s,the ride was featured in an episode of the Goosebumps TV show, based onthe popular R.L. Stine books. Shane couldn't remember any specifics, but knew the production company spruced up the ride before the shoot, and added some extra stuff. My research revealed that the episode was called "A Shocker on Shock Street", and was based on a Stine book of the same name. In the episode, Marty and Erin Wright (two kids played by Brooke Nevin and Ben Cook) visit Shocker Studios and ride the "Cave of the Living Creeps" dark ride. The ride stops midway through, so they must go against the rules and exit the car, and end up having a few scares before they find an exit. I found a few video captures that show the kids in the ride and the park, but don't show the ride itself. This episode isn't available on video. If you happen to have a taped copy, I would love to get one too.
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Haunted Barrel Works
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- Type: Dark ride
- Categories: tourist attraction and tourism
- Location: Ontario , Canada , North America
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Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Haunted barrel works.
Wow, great pictures. What a fantastic sunset! Thanks for sharing. Cheers!