Dundurn Castle in Hamilton

A McMansion ahead of it’s time? When built, this home would have been a symbol of unattainable wealth to 99% of the citizenship of the country.

Owner, Sir Allan Napier MacNab, 1st Baronet was at the height of his career during construction of his home.

He was a magnate of the Great Western Railway, a lawyer, a land speculator, a soldier and served as Premier of the Province of Western Canada between 1854 and 1856.

Completed in 1835 Dundurn Castle is an 18,000-square-foot mansion. Two stories plus basement, originally over 70 rooms, 42 of which are available to the public. Built with all the latest comforts of the day, gas lighting, running water with indoor washrooms, a central heating system and refrigeration.

Dundurn Castle, is a Regency house design, influenced by the Regency era of the early 19th century when George IV was Prince Regent.

Dundurn Castle is famous all over the country for its grand events hosting royalty and ministers like,

Sir John A. Macdonald.

King Edward VII.

The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall.

We met our tour guide dressed in period clothing at the gift shop. From the gift shop we walked toward the mansion as she helped us better understand the MacNab family, their staff and the home itself.

Formal Dining Room

It’s named Dundurn Castle after Sir Allan MacNab’s ancestral family home in Dundurn, Scotland.

It doesn’t look like a castle and it isn’t. Residence at the time regarded it as a castle due to its grandeur.  

The Drawing room. More commonly referred to as “the pink room”

The joys of modern indoor plumbing. Remember, there was no electricity yet. When the family used the water system, a young staff member manned the hand pump shown in the last photo to provide a constant flow of water!

Near the end of the tour we were brought to the kitchen at the basement level and were offered treats baked as they would have been during this time period.

Tree lined laneway leading to the panoramic views of Burlington Bay. In its day the view would have been unobstructed by overgrowth.

The intended purpose for the octagonal building has various descriptions, a chapel, a theater, a light house. No one seems to be sure as there doesn’t appear to be firm documentation. I see it as a chapel.

The Dovecote. Similar and commonly used structures in the UK at the time, Sir Allan Napier MacNab might have deemed it necessary. The wealthiest people built beautiful towers as homes for pigeons that were to be eaten by members and guests of the family. 

The property is an example of the Picturesque Movement in Canada. Views toward and from the home were made to look peaceful, having bountiful harvests, beautiful gardens and manicured lawns with large open spaces.

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