Official Statement on Cancellation of Haunting of Hexwood Event

Posted on Tuesday September 26, 2023

Please read the updated statement released on Friday, October 6, 2023

After considerable review and analysis, the City of Pickering will not be providing municipal approval for the proposed Haunting of Hexwood event, and has directed the organizers, E11venth Hour Productions to cancel this attraction that was being planned for the William F. White filming backlot, due to outstanding health and safety concerns that have not been addressed.

The City was approached with this proposed event back in August, and from the outset, we expressed our concerns to the organizers that a film set would not be a suitable venue capable of safely accommodating the influx of thousands of daily visitors over a three-week period.

Film sets, such as the one on Pickering's backlot, leased to William F. White, are primarily designed for film and TV production, emphasizing visual aesthetics for the camera. These structures are unsuitable for real-world events, as they are artificial and have a comparatively limited life span, and should not be considered on par with permanent, publicly-accessible buildings.

Namely, film sets like this do not conform to the stringent standards of the Ontario Building Code and lack the necessary infrastructure to ensure the safe attendance and movement of a massive number of visitors. This includes the absence of appropriate facilities for crowd control, fire safety measures, and accessible exits for swift evacuation in case of emergencies.

Despite these significant concerns, we made a sincere and concerted effort to find a workable solution, committing substantial staff resources to this endeavour.

Unfortunately, while these discussions and reviews were taking place, the event organizers began marketing and selling advance tickets for this Halloween experience without securing the City’s consent and official approvals.

Regrettably, 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. Consequently, we have instructed the organizers to initiate the necessary cancellation notices.

We advise that no members of the general public will be permitted access to the filming backlot site, and all those who had purchased advance tickets to contact E11venth Hour Productions.