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Ravenscliffe Castle – Hamilton’s other castle

March 2021

Hamilton, Ontario, is an old city that has many historic buildings still standing, even as the city has grown and changed. Dundurn Castle, the LCol John Weir Foote, VC, CD Armouries, the Scottish Rite, the former Canadian National Railways station and the former Toronto, Hamilton & Buffalo Railways station.

Ravenscliffe Castle is a 12,000 square foot, three-story estate in Hamilton’s west-end Durand neighbourhood. Built in 1881, on a nine acre estate, it was designed architect James Balfour, who designed many of Hamilton’s historic buildings, including the aforementioned Scottish Rite.

Built using as a mix between Romanesque and Gothic styles, the Scottish stone exteriors, dramatic roof lines, tall windows, turrets, and decorated bargeboard create a unique and striking home that features 12 bedrooms, 8 bathrooms, 12 foot & 17 foot ceilings, 8 fireplaces and a five-storey tower known as a “castle keep”; a structure traditionally used as a fortified refuge during battle.

Interior design features include carved woodwork, trim, wainscoting, doors, mouldings, and ceiling medallions.

Ravenscliffe Castle is the centrepiece of Ravenscliffe Ave, a street that was originally the estate’s private laneway. The land surrounding the home was gradually sub-divided and sold, with several other luxury homes being built along the road.

One of the early owners of Ravenscliffe Castle was Sir John Morrison Gibson, KCMG, KC. The Hamilton lawyer, politician and militia officer who fought at the Battle of Ridgeway during the Fenian Raids in 1866, was the Commanding Officer of Hamilton’s 13th Battalion (later becoming the Royal Hamilton Light Infantry) from 1886 to 1895, a Member of the Member of the Legislature from 1879 to 1905, and the Lieutenant Governor of Ontario from 1908 to 1914.

Gibson was also the driving force behind the Gibson Act, which aimed to prevent cruelty to children.

At 140-years old, Ravenscliffe Castle has been maintained in immaculate condition and is currently for sale, for the low, low price of $8,888,888.

Sources: Hamilton’s Ravenscliffe Castle is for sale (urbanicity.com), https://www.propertyvision.ca/tour/2078, Hamilton’s Ravenscliffe Castle is back on the market, for a regal price (hamiltonnews.com), John Morison Gibson – Wikipedia.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/ravenscliffe-castle-hamiltons-other-castle/

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