Experience a guided tour of this 40-room Italianate-style villa built in the 1830’s on Burlington Heights; the former site of a fortified military encampment established by the British in 1813. Once home to Sir Allan Napier MacNab, railway magnate, lawyer and Premier of the United Canadas (1854-1856) and his family, today Dundurn Castle tells the story of the family who lived above stairs and the servants who lived and worked below stairs to support their affluent lifestyle. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is the museum’s Patron and the great, great, great granddaughter of Sir Allan MacNab.
Dundurn National Historic Site has been selected for the 2016 Certificate of Excellence, reflecting the consistently great reviews earned on TripAdvisor.
Learn more about the Kitchen Garden, Coach House,The Hamilton Military Museum and Landscape Project
The Kitchen Garden
Rich, bountiful, and a pleasure to the senses, the kitchen garden at Dundurn, as at any fine Victorian home, provided an abundance of fashionable fruit, flowers, vegetables, and herbs, essential to the kitchen and dining room. William Reid was Sir Allan’s gardener for over 25 years. Explore his lovingly restored kitchen garden, where we use 1850’s tools and varieties to grow food for Dundurn Castle’s historic kitchen. Stop by the garden gate for the sights and scents of the 19th century.
Travel Canada's Garden Route to explore more gardens in Canada. This website contains the most comprehensive listing of Canadian gardens and garden experiences.
The Coach House
Housed in an 1870’s Coach House, this unique, meeting and reception facility can accommodate groups up to 88 people. The Coach House is also home to The Castle Shop, featuring a variety of Canadian handmade crafts, souvenirs and special gifts.
The Hamilton Military Museum
The tranquil landscape around The Hamilton Military Museum known as Burlington Heights was a centre of defense from 1813 to 1815. This was home to men, women and children connected to the British army and First Nations allies who came together during the conflict known as the War of 1812. The new exhibit Blood Ties to a Gentle Landscape tells the stories of people who lived here by connecting artifacts, personalities and modern-day descendants. Step back in time and meet the people tied by blood to this gentle landscape.
In 1855, Sir Allan Napier MacNab was the Premier of the combined Provinces of Canada and at the height of a very colourful career. He lived in Dundurn, the home he had built 23 years earlier with architect and landscape designer Robert Charles Wetherall and Master Gardener William Reid.
Dundurn National Historic Site is situated at the western end of Lake Ontario on a promontory referred to as Burlington Heights, a spectacular natural landscape. Wetherall and Reid sculpted the grounds into a picturesque landscape to complement the grand Italianate villa. Today, 150 years later, this is an historic site of national significance. It is however, also, a city park. The recent landscape restoration is being undertaken with respect for balance between these two aspects of the site.
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Regular admission rates and hours of operation apply to all events unless otherwise indicated.
- $11.50 for adults ages 18 to 59
- $9.50 for seniors ages 60 and above
- $9.50 for students ages 13 to 17. Students must show valid student ID
- $6 for children ages 6 to 12
- Children five years old or younger visit for free
- $30 for a family of two adults and unlimited dependent children under 18 years old
Full-price ticket includes admission to Dundurn Castle, the Kitchen Garden and The Hamilton Military Museum.
The museum is only partially wheelchair accessible. Call for more details.
Location & hours
The Museum is open year-round.
- Tuesday to Sunday, 12 noon to 4 pm. Tours are approximately one hour and begin every 20 to 30 minutes
- Closed on Mondays, Good Friday, Canada Day, Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day.
Depending on availability, we will open outside of regular hours for pre-booked groups.
The purchase of a $175 permit is required for all outdoor photography involving 10 or more people. Please call the museum to book your time.
Events at Dundurn
We host a variety of events, workshops and exhibitions at Dundurn National Historic Site throughout the year. No two trips are ever the same!
Ring in the New Year: A Holiday Evening Tour at Dundurn
Enjoy a unique opportunity to see Dundurn Castle decorated for the holidays in the evening. Sir Allan MacNab was very proud of his Scottish Ancestry and celebrated the New Year surrounded by family and friends. Ring in the New Year at Dundurn with music, an extended tour of MacNab's lavish home and a chance to sample an assortment of traditional holiday foods served in the historic kitchen.
December 28 & 29
Time: 7 to 9 pm
Cost: $27 per person
Pre-registration required, purchase early to avoid disappointment
Explore a fascinating piece of Hamilton history at Dundurn National Historic Site. On a guided tour of over 40 rooms in Dundurn Castle, discover what it was like to live and play above stairs and work and live below stairs. Visitors will enjoy hands-on activities throughout their tour and sample a variety of historic goodies made in the kitchen. Visit the neighbouring Hamilton Military Museum for a self-guided experience with dress-up and hands-on activities while exploring the historical figures whom lived around Burlington Heights during the War of 1812. Remember to stop in at The Coach House Gallery for an exhibit featuring stories about the First World War and paint a poppy for our Remembrance “garden”.
Monday, February 20, 2017
Time: 12 noon to 4 pm
Cost: Adults: $11.50, Seniors/Youth: $9.50, Children: $6, Infants: Free, Family: $30
Stock Exchange: Historic Cooking Demonstration
This historic cooking demonstration begins in the remarkable historic kitchen below stairs where costumed cooks will guide you through a variety of authentic 19th century recipes. Explore the rich history and tastes surrounding the act of cooking simple ingredients in a pot using our wood fired cast iron range. As everything simmers to perfection, enjoy a tour of Sir Allan MacNab’s cellar which was the work engine of the house. Complete your morning with a delicious sampling of the rich selection of soups. Enjoy discovering why this food is a staple for so many cultures. Suitable for ages 12+ yrs.
Saturday, February 25, 2017
Time: 10 am to 12 noon
Cost: $45 per person. Pre-registration is required.
Jerry Muskrat's Greatest Lakes Adventure!
Join Jerry as he rows his way through the cities, towns and parks of the Great Lakes and Saint Lawrence Seaway in his series "The Greatest Lakes – a Jerry Muskrat™ Adventure!"
This MOM (Multimedia Outreach Module) is part of a 5-episode story arc developed in partnership with the Hamilton Civic Museums owned and operated by the City of Hamilton. Other National Historic Sites in the series include the Hamilton Museum of Steam & Technology, Battlefield House Museum & Park, Whitehern Historic House & Garden and the Hamilton & Scourge shipwrecks National Historic Site.
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