Wednesday, November 4, 2009

visitors from abroad

There is great excitement in the local media.
For the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall are coming to visit tomorrow.
They will plant a tree at Dundurn Castle.
Just as Grandpa George did when he was here in '36.
This will be very exciting for Camilla. It is her first visit to her 'ancestral home' in our great land.
You see, it is well known that Dundurn Castle was built by native born Sir Allan MacNab, but some sleuthing and it turns out he was Camilla's great-great-great grandpapa.

You can read the flattering bits about him on the plaque above.

Really, it looks more like a very big house than a castle and indeed it was, at the time it was built, the largest private home in Upper Canada [Ontario]. It also had the honour of having one of the first flush toilets in the Empire. The castle is open to the public, though I have only ever walked the grounds. It is usually elaborately decked out for Christmas, so maybe then I'll take myself inside for a photoblog post.

In the meantime, I did find this old postcard in my stash of old postcards. My father was from Hamilton and I remembered that there were several he had kept from before the war and which I now have. I found one just like it on a website of vintage postcards of Hamilton and think it was probably taken around 1934-35.

So King George's tree isn't shown.

As an added bonus, I was reminded by Jo about Alice Keppel, which I neglected to mention. We need a bit of salaciousness, no?
Alice was Camilla's great grandmother, who was married to Sir Allan MacNab's daughter Sophia's son George. Following? Well, while Alice was married to Mr Keppel she was having a little bit on the side with .... The Prince of Wales, Edward VII.
He was the last Prince of Wales to visit Dundurn long before he met Alice, who was living in England.


  1. The yellow entrance with all those columns looks like it doesn't belong there at all.

    Geez, imagine your job is to spend your time smiling and planting trees... Yawn (for both the planter and the onlookers).

  2. Jazz: the balustrade and the other out buildings also have this yellow colour, so it doesn't look so out of place when you see them all together.

    Oh, and after their 45 minutes at Dundurn, they get to go have lunch aboard the HMCS Haida warship.

  3. Nice photos of the big house.Bet it looks magical done out for Christmas.C&C? Well take or leave them really,we're just waiting to become a Republic like you.

  4. Goosebreeder; it is beautiful at Christmas, every year, when I see pictures, I wish I had gone...

    There is an awful lot of talk in the media about the importance of keeping the monarchy (and the inevitable comparisons to AUS).

  5. That's funny, before I got to thtat part of the post I was thinking, "Huh, it looks more like a giant house than a castle."

  6. So you are having our Royals then!
    Hope you enjoy them!

    Great pictures of a lovely huge mansion.

    Nuts in May

  7. We have Royals too. They have less opulent buildings. They still cost us a lot of money and they don't pay taxes. I'm all for a republic.

  8. SAW: there are quite a few 'castles' around here that don't look like castles. strangely, I don't know why they aren't called 'palaces'

    Maggie: they are our royals, too. though many wish they weren't/

    Char: at least it may knock the H1N1 vaccination kerfuffle off the front pages.

    Nora: yes, but do they actually DO anything. at least some are very hard working.

  9. I would love to see the inside of this castle especially during Christmas, what a great blog it would make!
    Sunny :)

  10. The prince and his favorite horse. Oh my! I love that you have old postcards that were your Dad's. And you should for sure do the Christmas visit this year. I look forward to those pics.

  11. very Cool.

    Thanks for stopping by and commenting.

  12. Such a beautiful building and it looks extremely well-maintained. You must go see the Christmas decorations this year! We want to see them, too!

  13. Sunny: I feel as if I am grasping for future blog posts!

    Geewits: yes, considering all that he threw out, I love that I have these, too!

    Simone: thanks for the return visit!

    Susan: it is well maintained. it gets used for weddings a lot, too.

  14. I absolutely love your humour. Yes, I have observed that Canadians are nice people. I met one young lady here, a dental student, and oh boy, how lovely she is. She gave me a postcard from Anne of Green Gables when I told her that her movie is very much loved by my family: my two girls and I.

    So, darling Camilla great x 3 grandpapa is coming to town.

    Well, that is a very nice building, I mean a castle...

    very admirable work of the architects in those days.

    I am a big fan of Queen Mother and Lilibet. My eldest got that name with h at the end but I did not know that that's the present Queen's petname given to her by her Papa King George aka Albert.


    Tell you cat she be a darling to you. We have cat meme called Cats for Tuesday, do you know? Maybe you can rant about your cat, lol

  15. Bonnie: sadly my cat does nothing much worth ranting about. she just sleeps. but, thank you and come back and visit anytime.

  16. That's quite an impressive building. Camilla has an interesting pedigree. Wasn't she also related Alice Keppel (great-great grandmother), who was a mistress of Edward VI?

    Charles and Camilla are going to be in Vancouver on November 7th. I might have a chance to see them. I think royalty is rather interesting. Countries that have royalty are rather unique and different from countries that don't.

  17. How do you live down there and never go to Dundurn Castle? I think it was on every field trip we ever took in school.

  18. Great excitement, isn't it? Great photos. Thank you for visiting My Muskoka !

  19. Jo: Yes, there is that connection, also. I rather like having a monarchy, although I know many find them a waste of taxpayer money.

    XUP: maybe it was a little too far from east end Toronto for school trips? I know, it is a sacrilege that will be rectified soon.

    Amanda: I'll let you know how impressive when I do the Victorian Christmas tour.

    Jenn: I personally think they should be here more often - and people complain that they never come, but they need an invite from Steve.

  20. I was at Dundurn Castle this summer...loved the tour of the kitchens and the bedrooms and the drawing was oh so complicated then wasn't it? a whim of one turned into a task for another every time! Lovely post...

  21. Susan: maybe now would be a good time to take a tour - after it's been all gussied up for Camilla?

  22. An interesting piece of Canadian history. Unfortunately, we don't learn much about our northern neighbor unless we dig it out ourselves.

  23. That architecture looks like its got a little bit of everything going on there!...I guess most castles are like that:)...Does look like a great place to visit...

  24. I enjoyed your delightful little story and the wonderful photos too. You have a wonderful way with words.

  25. That´s interesting! I didn´t even know there were castles in Canada. I love the old postcard.
    You should really do that photoblog. Would be interesting!

  26. Martha Z: that is something some of us bloggers can have fun with - passing on bits of trivia about our respective countries!

    Oliag: probably when you are so rich as to build the biggest house in the land, you want it to stand out in every way

    Pam: thank you, I have fun writing

    Betty: sure, we got castles and chateaux galore, I think the Victorians loved building them - or just calling their big houses and hotels castles and chateaux

  27. Interesting post and nice shots. Are you going to wave the flag?

  28. Diane: no, I didn't actually go see them. I heard that there were to be ribbons, instead of little flags.

  29. Naughty rascals - those princes! You captured the sun on the front of the castle beautifully!

  30. Of course you will have a press pass to the royal visit so that you can share with us!

    Great photos and commentary, as usual!

  31. Interesting post. We all have something not quite on the up and up in our family tree, may I say. Don't do genealogy if you don't want to know!
    Thanks for visiting my 'Gateway' post.

  32. That was one very enjoyable history/royal family tree lesson. Dundurn Castle is exquisite!

  33. Lew: thanks

    GDP: at least I am not as snarky as some columnists have been about this visit.

    Dimple: yes, we do, luckily most of us get to keep it hidden!

    Lena: glad to share and glad you like our version of a castle which is nothing like a Scottish castle.

  34. It's lovely but looks 'cold' compared to the postcard image.
    Thanks for this wonderful bit of history.

  35. Carletta: that's an interesting point; it does look a little 'cold'. maybe it is the trees and I wonder when the vines came off the walls. I should try and get the same angle and show a comparison.


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