Castles of Canada
May 21, 2012 / 5:00 am
Yes that's right - Canada is home to 18 world famous castles. Why not take a moment to peek into the history and stories of the top 10. For more information on these exciting historical monuments, meet with your Travel Agent to customise your own personal tour!
1) The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel, Banff Alberta - Located in the heart of Banff National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and styled after a Scottish Baronial Castle, The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel has been serving guests for over 125 years. The opening of the hotel in 1888 marked the birthplace of tourism in the Canadian Rockies. The 1930's were an important time for promotion and the hotel saw a growth in members of high society, including heads of states and actors visiting the hotel for photo opportunities. Some visitors included Helen Keller, King George VI and Queen Elizabeth.
2) The Allan Memorial Institute, Montreal Quebec - Standing on the slopes of Mount Royal, in the heart of downtown Montreal occupies the mansion formerly known as Ravenscrag. Ravenscrag was completed in 1863 for Sir Hugh Allan - known at his death to be the wealthiest man in Canada. In 1942, the mansion was donated to the Royal Victoria Hospital. Currently a well known and world respected psychiatric hospital, the institute is most famously known for its role in the Project MKULTRA by the CIA and the Agency's initiative to develop mind control techniques from 1957 to 1964.
3) Casa Loma, Toronto Ontario - Built with European elegance and splendour; the former home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellatt, Canada's foremost castle is complete with decorated suites, secret passages, an 800-foot tunnel, towers, stables, and beautiful 5-acre estate gardens. Casa Loma took three years and $3.5 million to build. Sir Henry Pellatt filled Casa Loma with artwork from Canada and around the world and it far surpassed any private home in North America. With soaring battlements and secret passageways, it paid homage to the castles and knights of days gone by.
4) Castle Kilbride, Baden Ontario - Castle Kilbride was built in fine Italian design in 1877 by James Livingston and named after his birthplace in Scotland. Aided by provincial and national funding, the building was designated as a site of national historic significance in March 1994. It is considered a National Treasure in Art and Architecture.
5) Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria British Columbia - Craigdarroch was built between 1887-1890 for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. You will be able to explore to 39 rooms which are furnished lavishly in the 1890's-1900's period, and enjoy the exercise as you climb the 87 stairs to the tower. There you'll see views of Victoria, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Olympic Mountains. With over 20,000 square feet of space, the house and gardens are being restored exactly as they were originally built offering a great historical experience.
6) Hatley Castle, Victoria British Columbia - The Castle was completed in 1908. From 1941 until 1943 when the Grant Block was completed, the Castle served as dormitory and mess hall for cadets and staff officers at Royal Roads Military College. It is now the administrative centre of Royal Roads University. The building is 200 feet long and 86 feet wide.
7) The Fairmont Hotel MacDonald, Edmonton Alberta - After four years of construction, the hotel, named after Canada's first Prime Minister, Sir John A. Macdonald, opened its doors on July 05, 1915 and was built and furnished at a cost of about $2,250,000 (over $35 million today). With 199 guest rooms 'The Mac' has proudly hosted visitors from all walks of life, including the many American soldiers stationed here during World War II. The royal visit of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth (later known as the Queen Mother) in 1939 skyrocketed the hotel's popularity and now boasts of hosting many dignitaries and celebrities including royalty, political leaders, and entertainers.
8) Château Frontenac; A Fairmont hotel, Quebec City Quebec - A pet friendly hotel with 618 rooms this castle hosts a list of many famous guests including King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, Princess Grace of Monaco, Chiang-Kai-Shek, Charles de Gaulle, Ronald Reagan, François Mitterrand, Prince Andrew, Lady Sarah Ferguson, Charles Lindberg, Alfred Hitchcock and Montgomery Clift. In 1944, Fairmont Le Château Frontenac became the action center of the Quebec Conferences of World War II, which involved U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt, British Prime Minister Winston Churchill and Canadian Prime Minister William Lyon Mackenzie King.
9) Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Lake Louise Alberta - This grand luxury hotel has since 1890, played a considerable role in the colourful history of Canada's mountain West.
''I first came to the Chateau Lake Louise in 1926 with my parents...The interior was spacious and charming with the great plate glass windows in the lounge which opened onto that marvelous vista of lake and mountains. It was a friendly place too.
The lake and valley were still in deep shadow, but the surrounding peaks, all I had climbed, were bathed in golden, rosy light. I was seized by an indescribable ecstasy, filled with the joy of conquest. They were all mine - my beautiful, private world of mountains. Yet at the same time, I felt how infinitesimal I was. It was an unforgettable experience.''
From a letter by Georgia Engelhard Cromwell, niece of famed photographer Arthur Stieglitz and artist Georgia O'Keefe. A widely published photographer and accomplished mountaineer in 1931.
10) The Château Dufresne, Montreal Quebec - Built between 1915 and 1918, the Château Dufresne houses a museum dedicated to the history of Montreal’s east end. It was declared an historic monument by the provincial government in 1976. The interior of this Gothic-inspired mansion has been decorated with a series of beautiful murals and ceiling paintings.
Chateau Dufresne Sitting Room.
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