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4 real Canadian castles


Photo by R licensed BY NC-ND 2.0 

When one thinks of a castle, one thinks of a faraway land. But here’s the thing — Canada has castles too. They are not necessarily built by queens and kings but they do show us a glimpse of what history was like for the wealthy families who found their fortunes in their newfound land: Canada.

Casa Loma (Toronto, Ontario)

Casa Loma
Photo by dplay D licensed CC-NC-ND 2.0

Translation: Spanish for "house on a hill"

Cool fact: It has several secret staircases and passageways and an underground tunnel to the horse stables.

This historical gem is Toronto’s only castle! Built by Sir Henry Pellatt in 1911, it took about 300 workers over three years to complete at a cost of $3.5 million. This luxurious castle has 98 rooms, 30 bathrooms, an electric elevator, a library, a dining room that seats 100 guests, three bowling alleys, a rifle range and an indoor swimming pool that was never completed. They even had a staff of 50 servants to clean, cook and maintain the grounds. Sir Henry and Lady Pellatt lived in the castle for almost 10 years before their extravagant lifestyle caught up to them. They left Casa Loma with only three carloads of belongings. Everything else was auctioned off.

Dundurn Castle (Hamilton, Ontario)

Dundurn Castle
Photo by Nick Stanley licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Translation: Gaelic for "fort on the water"

Cool fact: On the grounds of Dundurn, archeologists have found evidence that confirm native people have been using the land for over 9,000 years.

You can find this massive beauty in Hamilton, Ontario. It is so picturesque that everywhere you look, it appears as though it belongs in a painting. Sir Allan Napier McNab built the castle over a three-year period, which ended in 1835. With 72 rooms and new technology like gaslight and running water, this castle would have been very sophisticated for its time. Though the castle cost $175,000 to build — which is a lot of money in those days — McNab died penniless.

And guess what? There’s a royal connection to this Canadian castle! Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall (aka Camilla — Prince William and Harry’s step-mom) is the great, great granddaughter of Sir Allan McNab.

Craigdarroch Castle (Victoria, British Columbia)

Craigdarroch Castle
Photo by jayscratch licensed CC BY-SA

Translation: Gaelic for "rocky oak place"

Cool fact: Castles must run in the blood! Robert Dunsmuir built Craigdarroch Castle and his son, James Dunsmuir, built Hatley Castle (below).

Craigdarroch (say "craig-derek") Castle overlooks the City of Victoria on Vancouver Island in British Columbia. This 39-room castle has 17 fireplaces and was constructed in the late 1800s by Robert and Joan Dunsmuir. At the time it cost $500,000 — a huge sum of money. It is outfitted with 33 colourful and intricate stained-glass windows. Over the years, Craigdarroch Castle has been home to a military hospital, a college, a school board, a music conservatory and now a museum. It is said that it is haunted by the ghost of Joan Dunsmuir — visitors and volunteers have claimed to have heard whispers and seen objects move.

Hatley Castle (Vancouver Island, British Columbia)

Hatley Castle
Photo by Oriol Salvador licensed CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Cool fact: It has been used in several movies and TV shows — most notably as Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters in X-Men movies.

Built on a Coastal Salish Indian burial site, you will find Hatley Castle on southern Vancouver Island. This massive stone structure looks like a medieval castle with its 82-foot-high turrets. Of the 40 rooms, 20 were actually used as bedrooms for family and guests. The grounds of Hatley castle are just as magnificent as the structure. Spreading over 650 acres, there are three lush gardens — a Japanese garden, an Italian garden and a rose garden.