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1357 Mississauga Rd.

What: A homage to "Mad" King Ludwig's Bavarian castle, set in modern Mississauga, the abode has five bedrooms, seven bathrooms, three turrets, one secret passageway and many bad-tempered-looking gargoyles.

Living space: 5,000 square feet

Lot size: half-acre

Asking price: $2,585,000

Taxes: $9,385 (2008)

Agent: Matthew Regan, Royal Lepage Real Estate Services Ltd.

The origins of the house at 1357 Mississauga Rd. are a bit of a mystery, but visitors who find their way to the farthest reaches of the basement - to a false door in a room hidden by a secret passageway - will find a clue to what inspired it. Concealed behind the door is a large photograph depicting Neuschwanstein Castle.

Real estate agent Matthew Regan points to the similarities: The spires and peaked roofs of the house, along with a large bow window jutting forth over the grand front entrance, echo the castle in Germany.

Neuschwanstein was one of the follies commissioned by King Ludwig II, whose weird and colourful reign eventually led to a declaration of insanity against him.

The 19th-century fortress was a Romantic embodiment of a medieval palace. King Ludwig was a devoted patron of Richard Wagner, and much of the art in the castle is based on the themes of his operas.

The castle also would likely appear familiar to anyone who is acquainted with Cinderella's castle at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Mr. Regan does not know who commissioned the house in Mississauga. It was built around 1940, he says, on a well-treed lot of approximately one-half acre on winding Mississauga Road.

"It's arguably the most famous house in Mississauga," he says.

Mr. Regan grew up nearby and remained fascinated with the house throughout his childhood.

When the call came to list the house for sale, Mr. Regan couldn't wait to get inside it.

He points to the stone gargoyles, murals, stained glass and figures carved into the wood as an almost endless source of interest. Dragons, he says, are one of the leitmotifs.

"I would come here and, every time, literally see something new."

Outside, the entire roof is copper, cut and welded on site. Similarly, the fascia, downspouts, gutters and flower boxes are all copper. Gargoyles guard the downspouts and a spiralling wrought-iron spiral staircase reaches to the third floor at the rear.

"It's a rarity," Mr. Regan says. "It's a home that will appeal visually to a lot of people."

Inside, a large foyer greets visitors to a fireplace and heated stone floor.

The large principal rooms on the main floor are laden with ornate wood panelling and carvings, stained glass, painted murals and gilded plaster trim. One large room overlooking the pool has French doors leading to the gardens, koi pond and waterfall at the front.

"What a great place to entertain," the agent says. "Maybe you have a big family and this becomes your family room."

Throughout, the wood is hand-carved. The staircase to the second floor has a richly-carved newel post and panelled walls.

"A lot of this stuff is priceless - you could never replicate this house today."

The kitchen is newly installed, says Mr. Regan, with cabinets designed to blend in with the rest of the house. A greenhouse window overlooks the pool.

A large sunroom at the rear has been added since the house was built, he adds. Doors open on three sides to provide a summer porch.

Upstairs, a previous owner turned the many bedrooms into three one-bedroom rental suites. A University of Toronto campus is nearby, the agent points out.

One of the suites has a trapdoor hiding stairs leading up into the turret.

"You really feel like you're in a castle up here," Mr. Regan says.

The master bedroom suite has a vaulted ceiling and stained-glass window.

On the lower level, a large recreation room has a sunken floor rimmed with lights. The room has a bar and a place for a large-screen television.

"Everybody who comes here has their own ideas of what to do," Mr. Regan says of the room.

A library in the basement has Gothic arches and heavy wood panelling where the secret passageway is hidden. The passage leads to a room in the far corner of the lower level. Elements in the room appear to have been reclaimed from an ecclesiastical building. The door from an old wooden telephone box hides mechanical workings in one corner.

With that kind of intrigue to offer, the house has been the setting for episodes of Goosebumps, the children's television series.

"This house has had countless movies and TV shows done here," says the agent.

Tonight, Mr. Regan plans to stand at the front door of the house handing out treats for Halloween.

"I grew up down the street and it was everyone's favourite house to visit for trick or treating. If no one's here, the kids will be disappointed - that's for sure."


The amenities

The walls and ceilings of many rooms in the house are covered in elaborately carved wood. Painted murals adorn the ceilings, while stained- and leaded-glass windows can be found in many rooms, upstairs and down.

The main living room has walls panelled in oak, a coffered ceiling with intricate carvings, a wall of arched stained-glass windows, and another wall of leaded-glass windows overlooking the in-ground pool. Double stained-glass doors lead to a stone terrace.

The new kitchen has a beamed ceiling, built-in refrigerator, stainless-steel range and wall ovens. A large island has a granite countertop and a china cabinet with leaded-glass doors. A butler's pantry is tucked in behind the kitchen.

Upstairs, three suites each have a bedroom, sitting room, kitchen, bathroom and veranda. In addition, the master suite has a bedroom with a moulded cathedral ceiling, a six-piece ensuite bathroom that includes a marble-clad tub, and a dressing room with a walkout to a veranda overlooking the pool.

The lower level has an entertainment room with a cast stone fireplace, oak-panelled walls, coffered ceiling, dance floor and bar.

Outside, the front garden has a stone patio, fountain, waterfall and koi pond, while the in-ground pool is in the back.

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