The Midlothian Castle and Screaming Heads is a very interesting and unique place to visit. I decided to take a road trip at the end of October (without the kids) on a very hot and unusual day in central Ontario. It was almost 30 degrees with the humidex and the day ended under a tornado watch.
When I arrived just before lunch, it was overcast and rainy so there were only 4 other people wandering around the property. It was a strange and eery feeling walking around by myself, especially being so close to Halloween.
Tip: If you plan to visit after a rainfall, I suggest wearing rubber boots as the walking paths, trails and parking lot can become very muddy.
What is Screaming Heads?
If you haven’t heard of the Screaming Heads before, it’s a large outdoor art installation, located on a 310 acre property, that is the creation of Canadian artist Peter Camani. Peter is a retired high school art teacher and he lives in the farmhouse (that he made to look like a castle) located on the property. The castle was once featured on an episode of the TV show, MTV’s Extreme Cribs!
Burks Falls, Ontario
The property is located on Midlothian Road, just West of Burks Falls, Ontario in the Almaguin Highlands. If traveling from the south, take Highway 400 North to Barrie, then take Highway 11 North towards Burks Falls.
After driving down Midlothian Road for several minutes, you will start to see some of the giant sculptures from the road just before you see the castle.
Drive past the castle and look for the blue parking sign on the left that indicates where to park. There are plenty of parking spaces. Once parked, you can walk back down the driveway entrance and cross the road to see additional sculptures.
What’s great about this place is that there’s no cost for admission but there is a spot for optional donations near the entrance.
With the money saved on admission, stop and eat lunch in the quaint town of Burks Falls nearby.
The artist lives onsite in the old farmhouse that has been transformed into a castle located behind the spider web gate. The gate was closed when I arrived so I didn’t explore this area but there are other sculptures built onto and around the castle.
Although they were closed for the season, vendor booths located near the parking lot sell artwork and clothing.
There’s a sculpture pathway entrance beside the main parking lot where a group of screaming head sculptures are located.
The large Screaming Head sculptures are situated around a large rock pile in the middle.
These sculptures are huge at 20 feet tall tall and each weighs approximately 30 tons.
And they’re made from cast-concrete!
A wood “tent” structure is located beside this set of sculptures.
I wandered down another trail near the parking lot and came across a few secluded and numbered cabins along with a central outhouse.
From the parking lot there’s another pathway that leads to where most of the sculptures and structures are located.
Each of these four cement monuments contain an engraved plaque in honour of the deceased.
Further down the path, I found a wood raft with a pully system used to cross one of the several ponds filled with lily pads located on the property.
After a long walk around the property these red Muskoka chairs at the end of the dock provided a nice rest break.
The Harvest Electronic Music Festival is held here every September and these giant steel dome structures, located throughout the property, are covered in fabric for the event and used for performance and eating venues.
But you can’t climb them when they aren’t covered!
Wandering around the property I also found several fingers and hand sculptures that looked like they were reaching out from under the ground.
This hand sculpture isn’t as tall as the Screaming Heads but it was still pretty impressive.
Some of the sculptures have different inscriptions written at the base. This one said “The Beginning” on one side. Can you guess what’s written on the other side of this sculpture?
Visiting this area in the fall is beautiful with the orange and red coloured leaves on the trees.
Finally it was time to go but not before seeing these screaming ghost sculptures located on the way out.
Screaming Heads is great road-trip destination for families. Younger kids will have fun running around and walking through the sculpture openings and older kids will find lots of insta-worthy photo opportunities.
I recommend planning for about an hour and a half to two hours to explore the property and sculptures and bringing the family along.
Have you visited the Screaming Heads before or any other outdoor art installation?
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