Midlothian Castle – Burk's Falls, Ontario - Atlas Obscura

Midlothian Castle

Burk's Falls, Ontario

A school teacher's massive and terrifying self-built castle. 


It is often the case that school teachers have a very different life outside of the classroom, but few teachers have as interesting an extracurricular hobby as Canadian secondary school teacher Peter Camani. Since the mid-1970s besides being a teacher, he has also been building a massive, and rather frightening, castle.

Inspired by druids and ancient Briton, Camani has filled the castle and its grounds with fire-breathing dragons, arches shaped like gaping mouths, and an eerie forest of tree-shaped sculptures. The castle even has a dungeon. The most distinctive feature of the Midlothian Castle, however, are the hundreds of screaming concrete heads that he has placed throughout the grounds, including a giant one on top of a castle tower. In the words of the artist, “Amidst the heads and disks, the solitude of the park envelopes the visitor in a peculiar silence, a silence both quieting and disquieting, penetrated only by the eerie scream of the peacock.”

Know Before You Go

Hwy 11 North from Toronto, take exit for Burk's Falls (Ontario St), follow Ontario St north through town then take a sharp hairpin left turn onto Hwy 520 to Ryerson, follow Hwy 520 west then turn left onto Midlothian Road and continue west.

This site is not marked but is hard to miss the 20 foot high screaming heads. Feel free to wander the grounds the artist doesn't mind, but do not enter the house unless invited and remember as the sign says on the gate, you enter Midlothian Castle at Your Own Risk. The castle and grounds are also home, once a year, to the Harvest Music Festival.

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