Dundurn Castle

Dundurn Castle is a grand villa with waterfront gardens you can explore near Toronto

Dundurn Castle is an enchanting destination near Toronto that's steeped in history, featuring a gorgeous 40-room Italianate-style villa perched above a sparkling bay, and best of all, it's not too far from Toronto.

Located in Hamilton overlooking Burlington Bay, the castle is just an hour's drive from the city, perfect for a day trip adventure. The name "Dundurn" was derived from Gaelic term "Dun Durn," which translates to "fort on the water."

Though it's technically called a "castle," the architectural marvel moreso resembles a grand villa, blending Regency and Neoclassical designs. It was built in 1832 by Sir Allan Napier MacNab on the site of a former British military encampment from the War of 1812.

MacNab lived with his family in the villa's upper quarters from 1854 - 1856 while his staff worked downstairs, including their beloved gardener who helped maintain the sprawling magical gardens for over 25 years.

Today, Dundurn Castle offers a glimpse into how the affluent lived in the 19th century. You can take a guided tour run by interpreters and costumed hosts, who lead you through the various (restored) lavish rooms and grounds while telling the story of the MacNab family and staff.

You can also stroll through the estate's beautifully landscaped grounds and lush gardens while checking out the site's historic buildings, including the Coach House, Cockpit building, and the Hamilton Military Museum where you can learn about WW1.

The castle also hosts events and workshops, which you can find a schedule of on their website.

Admission to the castle is $14.75 per adult, $12.75 for students, and $9 for children from age 6-12. Dundurn Castle is open from Tuesday through Sundays, and the gardens are only open from mid-May through mid-October.

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