The Most Famous House in Every Province
From architectural marvels to major historical landmarks, these famous Canadian homes are worth adding to your bucket list.
The Most Famous House in British Columbia:
There aren’t many legit castles in Canada, but Craigdarroch is certainly one of them. This Victoria landmark has been carefully restored to its Victorian-era splendour, offering visitors a glimpse into the high life of coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and his family in the late 1800s. Modelled after a Scottish Baronial mansion, this National Historic Site is as impressive today as it was when its doors first opened 130 years ago.
Would you believe Craigdarroch is also reported to be one of the most haunted places in Canada?
The Most Famous House in Alberta:
A contemporary of Craigdarroch, Calgary’s Lougheed House was built by Senator Sir James Alexander Lougheed in 1891. The sprawling 14,000 square-foot sandstone mansion is a popular attraction in the Beltline neighbourhood, drawing visitors with its grand Victorian interiors, curated exhibits and nearly three acres of gardens. High tea in the Lougheed House Restaurant—under the helm of famed Calgary chef Judy Wood—is a must.
Check out more incredible things to do in Calgary.
The Most Famous House in Saskatchewan:
Grey Owl’s Cabin
“Far enough away to gain seclusion, yet within reach of those whose genuine interest prompts them to make the trip, Beaver Lodge extends a welcome if your heart is right.” – Grey Owl
Tucked within the Million Acre Wood of Prince Albert National Park lies an unassuming cabin that was home to an international legend. British-born Archibald Stansfeld Belaney—also known as Grey Owl—moved to Canada in 1906 and became a trapper, conservationist and writer. Grey Owl’s cabin and final resting place can be accessed by foot (if you’re up for a 20-kilometre one-way hike), boat or guided tour.
Don’t miss this gorgeous gallery of Saskatchewan’s ghost towns.
The Most Famous House in Manitoba:
As a suffragette and politician, Nellie McClung was a leading figure in the movement to give women the right to vote, first in Manitoba (1916) and then across Canada. Two of Nellie’s homes can be toured in the tiny town of Manitou, a two-hour drive southwest of Winnipeg. Wandering through the charming historic buildings will give you a feel for not only the life of this remarkable woman, but of the challenges pioneering women faced at the turn of the century.
Note: Nellie’s Homes are temporarily closed to tourists in 2020 as they undergo restoration.
Here are 50 reasons you’ve got Winnipeg all wrong.
The Most Famous House in Ontario:
The home and workplace for each Governor General since 1867, Rideau Hall is where Canadians are honoured and world leaders are welcomed during state visits. It’s open to the public throughout the year, but one of the best times to visit is during Halloween for trick or treating. (Yes, they shell out!) Situated at 1 Sussex Drive, it’s just down the road from the Prime Minister’s official residence at 24 Sussex, though currently, the Prime Minister and his family live at Rideau Cottage on the Rideau Hall property. Who knows? You just might spot the Trudeaus amid the 79-acres of beautifully landscaped grounds.
After you’ve taken a peek at Rideau Hall, consider these amazing day trips from Ottawa.
The Most Famous House in Quebec:
One of the most recognizable and iconic buildings in Canada, Habitat 67 is a Montreal housing complex that was originally built as a pavilion for Expo 67, the World’s Fair. Designed by Israeli-Canadian architect Moshe Safdie, the identical, prefabricated concrete forms arranged in various patterns redefined urban living at the time. Although it’s still a residential property, guided tours of this architectural marvel are available.
Check out more incredible attractions in Quebec City and Montreal.
The Most Famous House in New Brunswick:
Even though Franklin Roosevelt clearly wasn’t Canadian, his summer getaway on New Brunswick’s Campobello Island is one of the province’s most cherished homes. FDR and his family spent the summers of 1909 to 1921 at this electricity-free cottage, which has been preserved in that state as the centrepiece of Roosevelt Campobello International Park. Guided tours are available the Saturday following Victoria Day through the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
Check out 12 more hidden gems across Canada.
The Most Famous House in Nova Scotia:
Maud Lewis House
It’s not just the vibrant paintings folk artist Maud Lewis created that are worthy of wonder—her house is, too! Lewis lived most of her life in poverty in a tiny cottage in Marshalltown, Nova Scotia. Making do with what she had, Lewis turned her house into living canvas, painting pretty much every surface from the doors to the breadbox to the windows. In order to preserve this one-of-a-kind cottage, the Province of Nova Scotia purchased the home and handed its care over to the the Art Gallery of Nova Scotia—the largest arts museum in Atlantic Canada. The cottage now sits—intact!—within the gallery, accompanied by a permanent collection of Lewis’s art.
Check out more quintessential Canadian attractions worth adding to your bucket list.
The Most Famous House in Prince Edward Island:
Green Gables Heritage Place
Anne Shirley may have been a fictional character, but the setting of Lucy Maud Montgomery’s famed novels is very real. That doesn’t make Green Gables any less magical, of course, as hundreds of thousands of delighted visitors from all over the world discover every year. Step back in time at one of the site’s old-fashioned Sunday picnics, then join a summer tour of the 19th century gardens, Haunted Wood and Lover’s Lane—just as they were depicted in the books.
While you’re there, check out these other essential east coast experiences.
The Most Famous House in Newfoundland and Labrador:
Commander of the SS Roosevelt for Admiral Peary’s North Pole expeditions in the early 1900s, Captain Robert Bartlett is a true Canadian legend. One of the world’s greatest arctic explorers, Bartlett survived a dozen shipwrecks, yet always managed to return home to Hawthorne Cottage in Brigus, Newfoundland. Now a National Historic Site, Hawthorne Cottage is an excellent example of 19th century merchant housing, where visitors can relive Bartlett’s daring exploits, viewing rare artifacts from his expeditions.
Find out more surprising facts about Canada’s most famous landmarks.
The Most Famous House in Yukon Territory:
Sam McGee’s Cabin
There are many treasures to be found inside Whitehorse’s MacBride Museum, but one of the most intriguing lies outdoors: the original cabin of Sam McGee. Immortalized in the Robert Service poem The Cremation of Sam McGee, it turns out McGee was an actual person—a road builder and prospector living in the Yukon. He moved into this rustic cabin in 1899, living there with his wife for the next 10 years. Much like the poem itself, the cabin serves as an evocative time capsule of life in the Klondike.
Now that you know the most famous house in every province, find out the 10 places in Canada every Canadian needs to visit.