This site is composed of two big attractions: Dundurn Castle and the Hamilton Military Museum. First, let's get something straight: Dundurn isn't really a castle, but a very grand manor house. But it does afford a glimpse of the opulent life as it was lived in southern Ontario in the mid-19th century. Costumed interpreters "living" in 1855 guide you through the house and tell vivid stories of what life was like there -- for both the aristocrats and the servants.

Sir Allan Napier MacNab, premier of the United Canadas in the mid-1850s and a founder of the Great Western Railway, built Dundurn between 1832 and 1835; Queen Victoria knighted him for the part he played in the Rebellion of 1837. The 35-plus-room mansion has been restored and furnished in the style of 1855. The gray stucco exterior, with its classical Greek portico, is impressive enough, but inside, from the formal dining rooms to Lady MacNab's boudoir, the furnishings are rich. The museum contains a fascinating collection of Victoriana. In December, the castle is decorated splendidly for a Victorian Christmas.

The Hamilton Military Museum is on the grounds of Dundurn Castle. For those who are interested, it traces Canadian military history from the War of 1812 through World War I. Admission is included when you buy a ticket for Dundurn Castle.