Dundurn Castle is a national historic site on York Boulevard in west Hamilton. Constructed in the 1830s, Dundurn Castle was once the home of affluent Sir Allan Napier MacNab, and tells the story of his family life, and their support staff, including a beloved gardener that worked at the property. Guided tours by costumed interpreters will transport you back to the 19th century.
The property hosts events throughout the year, including the famous Victorian Christmas event with festive decor and evening tours.
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More about Dundurn Castle
Dundurn Castle is part of the Dundurn National Historic Site and features a neoclassical, Italianate-style 1,600 square metre villa completed in 1835.
The city of Hamilton restored the mansion’s 40 rooms to match its historic interior when the wealthy Sir Allan Napier MacNab lived there in the mid-19th century. He was an important figure, holding roles such as a railway magnate, lawyer and the United Canadas’ Premier from 1854-1856. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall Camilla (and wife to Prince Charles) is the museum’s official patron as she is a descendant of Sir Allan MacNab.
Today, the castle operates as a museum, depicting what daily life for the MacNab family was like at that time. It also offers insights into 19th-century life in Hamilton and throughout Ontario. Interpreters and hosts dressed in costume will guide you through the castle’s rooms and grounds, divulging the story of the MacNab family and staff.
One of the family’s most beloved attendants was William Reid, the MacNabs’ gardener who served the family for over 25 years. Explore the restored gardens’ grounds, which still grow over 200 types of heirloom fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers. Although the castle is open year-round, the garden is only available for visits from May to October. In the summer months (July and August), you can enjoy free tours of the garden.
Dundurn Castle’s coach house was completed in the 1870s and is now home to The Castle Shop, where you’ll find handmade souvenirs, crafts and gifts from Canadian makers.
One of the most popular events is the MacNab’s Kitchen Workshop. Follow traditional recipes in the castle’s historic kitchen using local ingredients, some grown right on the grounds in the garden. Another favourite experience is The Heights Tour, which dives deep into the War of 1812.
The Hamilton Military Museum is also located on the Dundurn Castle grounds. Educational displays depict scenes and artifacts from several battles, including the War of 1812, the Rebellions of 1837, the Boer War, World War I and World War II. The museum also focuses on the role of women in the Canadian military.
Dundurn Castle is near Hamilton’s centre, so enjoy some of the city’s other sites. Stroll through Harvey Park to enjoy views over Burlington Bay – the waterfront trail leads to a lookout point at the historic Thomas B. McQuesten High Level Bridge, built in 1932.
Just across Highway 403 is the RBG Cootes Paradise Sanctuary, an impressive outdoor preserve where you can enjoy hiking, birding and boating. The green space is part of the Royal Botanical Gardens, the largest of its kind in Canada. Five separate garden areas feature 27 km of nature trails across over 2,400 acres of land with over 180,000 plants to enjoy.
The city of Hamilton is known for its large number of waterfalls. The nearest cascades to Dundurn Castle are Chedoke Falls and Cliffview Falls. Another local favourite is Albion Falls.
Last updated: August 18, 2023