Last week I wrote about Dundurn Castle and the Cockpit Theatre in Hamilton. Both places were originally owned by Allan MacNab. Yesterday I came across Castle Doune while walking with my granddaughter. As I came to the end of Locke St. N I spied this impressive structure through the trees. Apart from the historical plaque at the front of the property and the Private Property sign it appeared to be occupied. I was fascinated by the trees on the property and a very old bust made of stone looking over the driveway that led onto the property.
When I too a photo of the bust a very attractive middle aged woman walked toward me from the back of the driveway. I asked her if it was alright to take photos of the stone head. She was more than happy to oblige me and she started to talk about the history of the sculpture. It seems that it was originally guarding the original gravesite of Sir Allan MacNab before his remains were removed and placed in another cemetery. She was pretty confident that the head was not a likeness of MacNab but some deity that she couldn’t remember the name of.
Again the history of this place is somewhat sketchy. The historical society claims that MacNab built it for his gardener but the present owner thinks that it was MacNab’s first home. Apparently, according to her, he found the place too small for his liking and he built Dundurn Castle.
I thoroughly enjoyed speaking to this charming woman. When she bought the place 10 years ago she justified living in this large home because in her words, ‘every princess deserves a castle’.
If it’s true that MacNab needed larger quarters to live in he certainly made sure that his new home met those requirements. Here are a couple of photos of Dundurn Castle.
Yesterday my granddaughter and I walked over to the park at Dundurn Castle in Hamilton. She no longer calls it the dinosaur park but now uses its actual name ‘Dundurn Castle’.
On the grounds there sits a beautiful small white building with large columns at the entrance. I never gave much thought to what the building was originally used for but when I found out what it might have been potentially used for I was quite shocked. It is referred to as the Cockpit Theatre but according to Wikipedia there is no proof that it was ever used for cockfighting. It is also referred to as a folly, which I had to look up.
a costly ornamental building with no practical purpose, especially a tower or mock-Gothic ruin built in a large garden or park.
a theatrical revue, typically with glamorous female performers:
“the Ziegfeld Follies”
According the Tourism Hamilton, “The Cockpit Theatre is the small Neo-classical building overlooking Burlington Bay on the edge of the escarpment estate. It was built by Sir Allan MacNab as a place to entertain business and political friends in an era two hundred years before action films and reality television. No archaeological evidence has actually shown that the building was ever used for the activity its name suggests.”
Another source gives this description of its original purpose: One of Dundurn Castle’s favored buildings it is actually a folly as its true purpose will forever remain unknown. Most locals refer to it as housing MacNab’s cockfighting ring as he was an avid participant in this long since banned sport. Local lore has underground tunnels leading from it to the main mansion.
Other uses being designated to it include:
A laundry house
A chapel for his wife
It is confusing to me that all accounts try to deny the use of this beautiful building as a cockfighting pit yet its official name is The Cockpit Theatre and as I peaked inside there were placards describing ‘cockfighting’. In fairness to Dundurn Castle I wasn’t able to read the information through the window so maybe they were debunking the myth. Anyway it makes for an interesting story.
This week, October 12, 2107, my doors come from my neighbourhood. Last week I featured doors on Tenth Street and this week I’m posting doors a block west of there. I love this time of year because people are putting out harvest and Hallowe’en decorations.
The streets that run north/south in my neighbourhood are all named with numbers, i.e., First Street, Second Street, etc.. It can be a bit challenging when you live at the bottom of the street close to the lake and have a low house number. When your address is 7 Sixth Street it is not uncommon for people to end up at 6 Seventh Street by mistake. The other challenge is that the streets on the Toronto Islands have the same names. This is where postal codes are really important if you want your letter to get to the right place.
Last week I went to Niagara-on-the Lake to take in an afternoon show at the Old Courthouse. As we walked back to the car I couldn’t help but notice the lovely doors on the homes close to the downtown area.
….thank you Dan for helping Norm host Thursday Doors
Today my family and I took a quick trip to Dundurn Castle in Hamilton. We spent most of our day in the military museum, the park and the gardens but we passed by the castle where I took a few pictures of this beautiful building.
My neighbourhood seems to change daily. My house was built in the 1940s as were many of the homes on my street. Some I dare say are even older. Thirty years ago we had to make a decision. Our tiny two bedroom bungalow was too small for a family of five. The kids had the bedrooms and my husband and I tried to set up a bedroom in different locations of the house. We set up our queen size bed in the living room and the tiny dining room became the living room. We also tried sleeping in the partially finished basement for awhile.
So we had to choose between moving to a larger house, probably in Mississauga or staying and building up. We chose the latter. Not many people were putting additions on their homes back then but now when homes in this neighbourhood sell they either come down and a new house is built in its place or a major addition is added. Many people have opted to go for a very modern look. A lot of the old timers don’t approve of this look but both my husband and I quite like it. Unfortunately some of the new owners are taking some liberties and building homes that are considerably taller than the average two story home of 30 years ago. Too often the committee of adjustment turns a blind eye to the changes made to the approved variances. The most serious consequence for not following the approved plans is that construction is halted for a short time but it eventually resumes. The days of tearing down the offending building are long gone.
Here are some of my favourite modern additions and the doors that go with them.