For many, Canada might not strike as an abode of fairy tale castles. It might certainly be a surprise to know that the Great White North, despite its recent heritage, has its own share of the royal legacies. In the 19th century, the high royal influence led to the rise of many stunning castles. Today, many of these castles are alluring to both the locals and visitors and many transformed to museums and luxury hotels.
So do not forget to add these to your travel itinerary for Canada, when you are leaping to the north.
Baron Robert Dunsmuir built the Craigdarroch Castle during the reign of Queen Victoria. The castle opens doors to the life in the 1890s of the royal and the privileged. The castle has many stories and tales to say about the Dunseimar family. The mansion was built as a venue for the wedding of the daughters of Dunsmuir. Now it is a museum best to visit during any time of the year, and particularly when the Victoria British Columbia weather is pleasant with the spring in the air.
Dundurn Castle is a neoclassical mansion was built for Sir Allan MacNab, who became the Prime Minister of the united province of Canada. It was completed in 1835, and at the time, the castle was fully equipped with the latest conveniences at that time including running water and gas lighting. Not only the architecture of the castle is impressive, so are the legends that associate with the life of people above and below the stairs. There are also some mysterious tales that Sir Allan and his family haunt the castle.
Boldt Castle speaks of a tragic romantic story. George Boldt, the millionaire hotel magnet started the construction of this castle in 1900 in Heart Island. It was designed as a summer house for Mr. Boldt and his wife. The design included 120 rooms, Italian gardens, drawbridges, and opulence of all kind. However, when Mrs. Boldt passed away in 1904, all the construction was stopped and the project entirely abandoned. It was only 73 years later when the Thousand Islands Bridge Authority took over the property. They decided to rehabilitate and preserve it for future generations.
Lake Louise and its surrounding are already very dear to the tourist scene of Canada. Chateau Lake Louise was initially built to serves as a base for outdoor activities on the alps before 100 years ago. It started as a summer destination before welcoming the winter enthusiasts. Today it is a luxury mountain resort, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise. It is situated on the shore of Lake Louise, in a very picturesque setting that definitely makes for incredible scenery.
Yet another venture by the Dunsmuir family, the Hatley castle was built by the James Dunsmuir, the son of Robert Dunsmuir. The architecture represents influences of the Tudor Revival style, and it was named Hatley Park on par with the traditional names given to the British private estates at that time. The Park thus features remarkable and extensive Edwardian gardens and had several other buildings to meet the needs of the household within the estate. It was acquired in 1939 by the government of Canada. Since then, many smaller buildings have been demolished, but the castle is still well preserved as a museum. It also has much historical significance as it served as dormitories for cadets of the Royal Roads Military College.
Casa Loma was the life long dream of Sir Henry Pellatt, the Canadian financer, fulfilled in 1914. The medieval castle follows the Gothic revival style and is charming with all its secret passages, ornated suites, stabled with mahogany horse stables and a 5-acre estate garden. Due to its unique architectural style, the site is famous not only among tourists but also for filming locations. The museum after its opening hours could be rented out as a venue for events too.
Bound by stunning waterways, mountain ranges and the beauty of Banff National Park. The Banff Springs Hotel is one of Canada's grand railway hotels. Though a hotel, the architecture is nothing less than that of a castle. The original five stories wooden structure was burnt down and was replaced by a steel one. There are towers, copper roofs, gables and a blend of architectural styles.
Another of the famed railway hotels, the Empress Hotel is an inspiring Edwardian Chateau. It was opened in 1908 and has hosted royal families and movie stars since then. The afternoon tea at the Empress Hotel is almost a must do in the list of things to do in Victoria. It is once again managed by the Fairmont Hotels and Resorts. The castle sits facing the Inner Harbour of Victoria and has a designation of National Historic Site of Canada since 1981.
The Chateau Frontenac, not so surprisingly, is also the world’s most photographed hotel. The historic hotel situated in the old Quebec city seems to be towering over it, as the 18 storied structure sits on top of a 54 m elevated ground. The hotel has distinctive architecture styles influenced by the Renaissance and offers fantastic views of the Saint Lawrence River below.
The French Renaissance hotel is another addition to the railway hotels and is as stunning as the rest. An interesting story related to the hotel is that the railway magnet and the builder, Charles Melville Hays, died only a few days before the hotel was set to open, in the tragic accident of the Titanic. Chateau Laurier is right in the middle of many attractions in Ottawa, like the Gatineau Hills, Parliament, the Rideau Canal, etc.
While most of these beautiful castles are now museums or was built for the purpose of hotels, that does not exclude them for its immense beauty and historical value of architecture. Though you can’t stay in every one of them, you are most likely to visit the location on your Canadian tour. So why not get a glimpse of the beautiful frame?
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