Known ghost stories…
Dundurn Castle was saved from the decay of time by an ambitious city.
Once home to a former Prime Minister. Sir Allan MacNab (knighted thanks to his role in the Rebellion of 1837) served as a leader of Upper Canada (today the province of Ontario). A high point of his roller coaster life.
3 years long, from 1832 to 1835, to build Dundurn on land at the mouth of Burlington Heights. Land once owned and made famous by pioneer Richard Beasley.
Beasley helped found Ancaster, served in Parliament and donated his land to the British war effort. Soldiers camped out across the street before marching on Stoney Creek, initiating a pivotal turning point in the War of 1812.
MacNab kept the foundation and basement of Beasley’s home into the final design of Dundurn Castle.
Controversy followed MacNab in life. Many shady dealings attributed to his fading wealth. Even in death he generated negative press, sparking a city-wide controversy around his religion.
MacNab was a dedicated Anglican in life, faith and reputation. Then the Catholic Bishop of Hamilton declared MacNab converted to Catholicism on his death bed. Nobody believed it.
It’s true MacNab’s Catholic sister-in-law invited the Bishop to give last rites. Inside Dundurn with only the three of them to witness.
Most, including the Hamilton Spectator and Toronto Globe and Mail passed it off as rumour. Not the Mayor of Hamilton. That dedicated Catholic backed the Bishop’s move to ensure MacNab was buried a Catholic.
A posse of men were hired to stand guard at the funeral with weapons in case of religious violence. Word got out and the public stayed away. Only some family attended MacNab’s funeral as his body was buried in the family cemetery once located on the east side of Dundurn Park.
His body remained in the family plot until a law was passed not allowing family cemeteries in the city’s core. The MacNab’s were moved to Hamilton Cemetery… all except Allan the Catholic.
Thrown into an unmarked grave in the back of Holy Sepulchre (now part of Burlington). Located in the historic section near the chapel.
Thankfully in 1967 a historical group put down a stone marker over the resting place of this once famous man.
Direct line to the Royal Family
Sophia (pronounced So-fi-ah) MacNab was the favourite daughter of Sir Allan. Married at 23 to an English Earl named William Keppel.
The line starts from there and ends with a great-great granddaughter named Camilla. She would become the second wife of Prince Charles.
Find out if it’s Haunted
Featured on Ghost Bus Tour of Hamilton happening in October. Details to come. Be first to know by joining our list at www.ghostwalks.com/#list
A 1960’s tour of Dundurn Castle in Hamilton
Photographic tour of Dundurn Castle done in 1967 for the Hamilton Spectator. Featuring…
- Entrance with iconic columns
- Grand staircase leading up to the…
- Upstairs parlour featuring a piano built in Hamilton in the 1800’s
- Sir Allan Napier MacNab’s bedroom
- Dundurn’s Dining Room, with angle of windows were the Wedding Ghost (see above) would appear about 30 years later
- Including a drawing of the Drawing Room