Safety concerns shut down the “Haunting of Hexwood” Halloween event in Pickering

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Published September 30, 2023 at 6:22 pm

Haunting of Hexwood in Pickering cancelled due to safety issues
Stock photo via Canva.

The City of Pickering has pulled the plug on the Haunting of Hexwood Halloween event scheduled at a film set, citing significant health and safety issues stemming from the anticipated large crowd.

In August (2023) city officials expressed reservations about the proposed event, notifying the organizers, E11venth Hour Productions that film sets don’t comply with Ontario Building Code standards and lack essential infrastructure for the safety of visitors.

Although discussions on collaborative solutions took place, the City alleges the organizers proceeded to market and sell advance tickets without securing official approvals.

On Sept. 26, the City of Pickering released a statement on their website, “Despite our continuous engagement, the event organizers could not develop a feasible plan that would meet the exacting requirements of the Ontario Building Code, as well as our municipal health and safety standards, and fire regulations, all of which are essential to safeguarding event attendees.”

The public is advised that access to the filming backlot site will not be permitted, and those with advance tickets should contact E11venth Hour Productions for refunds.

The 23-acre William F. White Backlot in north Pickering— usually a Hollywood backdrop, was scheduled to transform into a Halloween attraction next month. The spooky initiative aimed to draw patrons and generate additional income for the property, which is currently impacted by strikes involving writers and actors.

Prior to its cancellation, the event’s website mentioned that the haunted town attraction would have specially designed sets, actors, special effects and would feature haunts, a corn maze, store front displays, a licensed bar area, a pumpkin patch, carnival games, food trucks, and other entertainment vendors.

In a recent Instagram video posted by the event director of the Haunting of Hexwood, an update was shared regarding the obstacles encountered with the City of Pickering.

The post mentioned that their innovative idea faced difficulties, and they are actively seeking a resolution with the city.

Followers aware of the situation, including those who bought tickets chimed in with their comments on the post.

“If you were given warnings about not meeting safety requirements in the summer and advised to not proceed with marketing, I’m curious why you started advertising and taking people’s money, when you knew you couldn’t open,” one user wrote.

Another said, “How are you still letting people buy tickets on the website?”

Individuals who had purchased tickets inquired about a refund and were followed up with a reply stating that they were offering a reschedule date for all tickets purchased on opening  weekend (Oct.7)

As per hauntingofhexwood.ca, the event does not inform current ticket holders or prospective attendees about the dispute with the City of Pickering. The site includes this message for visitors:

“Due to the unprecedented scale of Hexwoods Haunting design, external concerns have been voiced regarding the intensity of our scares. We require further deliberation with the municipality for how we can permit public attendance. We are doing everything in our power to exceed expectations of what you’ve seen from other haunted houses.”

According to the event director, a decision is expected to be reached sometime next week.

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