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Hamilton Photo Gallery - Dundurn National Historic Site

This huge building was built in the 1830s on the site of a fortified military base from the War of 1812. Overlooking Burlington Bay, it was Sir Allan Napier MacNab's home with his daughters, wife, and sister-in-law. He was a politician, railroad tycoon, and land speculator who helped suppress the Upper Canada Rebellion in 1837 and served as Premier from 1854-6.

Dundurn is named after his ancestral home in Scotland.

Visitors are only allowed to visit the Italianate residence's 40 rooms by escorted tour with a knowledgeable guide in period dress. It was $14.75 well spent!

There was plenty of marble walls on the ground floor, but is it really marble? It's actually painted on!

Sir Allan sure knows how to impress visitors. Once they come in through the main door, they turn 90 degrees to the right to see the head of the house descend down the stairs in grand style.

MacNab's daughter, Sophia, is a direct ancestor of Camilla Parker-Bowles. She became the trustee of the estate following his death and sold Dundurn to Donald MacInnes. The city bought the castle in 1899 for $50,000 and restored it into a tourist attraction.

The basement has a full kitchen where they hold cooking workshops with a wood stove from the period. The servants lived and worked down here, forbidden to be seen on the 2 floors above them where the family lives unless called. The cook's bedroom looks relatively nicer, and for good reason. She would cook the family's 4 meals and servants' 3 meals a day.

The family can ring for service from any room in the house. Each room corresponds with a specific bell which chimes in a unique way so staff would know where to go to get their instructions.

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