MOAT & CATAPULT OPTIONAL

Economic recession brings castle ownership within reach for lucky few

KNOWN AS LA TOURELLE this historic Rosedale landmark, priced at $4.695 million with six bedrooms and five bathrooms, is the closest thing to a castle in the city, outside of Casa Loma. Coincidentally, much of the fine craftsmanship in this home was done by the same craftsman. It is a breathtaking property with a turret, imported marble and a coach house. Legend has it that 1930s theatrical impresario Ambrose Small (who disappeared) is said to be buried in the passageway between the main house and the coach house (listed by Nicole Zarry, Chestnut Park R. E.).

WHEN CASTLES CLOSE TO HOME DON’T MEASURE UP

IF CAMELOT IS your idea of a dream home and Toronto’s inventory of palaces doesn’t meet your needs, now might be the ideal time to jump into the world-wide castle market. The global recession means there are bargains to be had. In fact, an article in Forbes points to there being a few hundred castles available around the globe. In Toronto, Sotheby’s International Realty has a list of castles available from the St. Lawrence to Slovenia. Below are three beautiful manors.

THE PERIGORD REGION of France is home to this enchanting castle priced at just $5.486 million US for more than 13,000 square feet of royal living space. Despite its bargain basement price, ahem, the castle has been completely restored. Among the features of the home are an impressive four-room reception area, a neo- classic lounge-theatre, 12 bedrooms, sumptuous dining room, neo-gothic lounge with carved panelling and a four- hectare park.

A LITTLE CLOSER to home, Singer Castle, located on Dark Island in the Thousand Islands, hit the market in 2008 for a tidy $24.6 million. Singer Castle boasts 28 rooms with a whopping 13 fireplaces. It was designed by Ernest Flagg for the president of the Singer Sewing Machine Company. Unique features include stone spiral stairs, towers, secret passages, caretaker’s cottage, wine cellar, two boathouses, and, yes, it has a dungeon. It might be off the market now, but the owners are still open to serious offers!

NEW JERSEY IS not the first place one thinks of when envisioning a dream castle, but one look at Ralston Castle and the attractive $1.9 million US price tag might have you thinking twice. Located on a hill overlooking the town of Hopewell, this mansion is a modest one when it comes to castles. But it does boast two dramatic towers, ornate millwork, library, billiards room and six bedrooms, including a spectacular master suite. It sits on more than four acres of grounds with a reflecting pool and waterfall.


ARMOUR CHIC?

A fan of the Middle Ages? Yearning to liven up your living space to reflect your passion for the War of the Roses or all things Lancelot? Perhaps it’s time to invest in a suit of armour or two to bring your space to life. A fascinating conversation piece, suits of armour are readily available from distributors around the world who work in both replicas and historic suits. In London, Ont., Reliks (reliks.com) offers an impressive array of heavy gauge steel styles including a rather fetching Duke of Burgundy armour suit for a reasonable $2,849, based on the 1450s Italian style and hand forged by experienced blacksmiths at Windlass Steelcrafts. Caution: it is made to fit mighty warriors six feet in height with a girth of some 200 pounds. Faganarms (faganarms.com) is North America’s largest antique armour dealer, located just across the border in Clinton Township, Michigan. A featured item in stock now is a rare English Pikeman’s suit of armour, circa 1620, for $16,300 in a bright red and shiny steel that would light up a room. And, when one of Ontario’s many medieval festivals and Renaissance fairs come round, you’ll be the belle of the ball.

Article exclusive to TRNTO