Island royalty: 2 replica castles on rural P.E.I. lot up for sale
The castles were part of the former Woodleigh Replicas site in Burlington, P.E.I.
Situated just off a rural P.E.I. road marked with the Island's iconic red dirt are two replica stone castles that once served as a popular tourist destination.
Now, they could be yours for $119,900.
The scale-model castles in Burlington, P.E.I. — located on a 2.79-acre lot dotted with mature trees and grassy fields — recently went on the market.
Realtor Tayler Weeks said there has been a lot of interest, with more than 100 potential buyers from P.E.I., elsewhere in the Maritimes, Ontario and even the United States potentially vying for the quirky property.
"It's probably the most unique listing on P.E.I. — I don't know [whether] in the history of real estate, but it's definitely unique," said Weeks. "It's not too often you get the opportunity to buy a castle."
The castles are replicas of Dunvegan Castle on the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland, and of the Tower of London in England.
They were originally built as a hobby by a former owner of the property, Lt.-Col. Ernest Johnstone, and his son, Sen. Archibald Johnstone. The replicas drew a lot of interest from locals and the Woodleigh Replicas Park was officially opened to the public in 1957.
In its heyday, the attraction employed 80 people each season and would see 4,000 visitors a day. The site closed in 2008.
It was around that time that Weeks's father and uncle purchased the replicas from the province. The majority of the former park's land has already been sold.
Weeks said he believes someone would be able to convert the Dunvegan Castle into a habitable structure, noting that it has two levels and multiple rooms, all scaled back greatly from the original proportions.
The Tower of London is complete with a surrounding stone wall, a replica church, other small buildings and an underground tunnel that goes from one of the buildings to another.
Weeks said several potential buyers were trying to book flights to the Island last weekend to scoop up the model landmarks, but COVID-19 restrictions have been getting in the way of their plans.
He said there has also been some confusion about the livability of the property.
"Some have been asking for photos of the bathroom and kitchen. They believe it's an actual castle that they're going to move right into. But it does require obviously some substantial upgrades," said Weeks.
"A lot of people are talking about converting it into a living space, whether they use it as a rental property or summer cottage."
This isn't the first time the castles have been up for sale. The property was listed six years ago, but did not sell.
This time around, Weeks is confident the piece of Island history will change hands.
"It's been overwhelming," he said, adding that some of the prospective buyers already own "castles" and are looking to add to their collections.
"We definitely didn't think there would be this much interest."