This 50-room mansion was built for financier James Austin in 1866, but his son added even more space in the 20th century, so it now has elements of both Victorian and Edwardian architecture. The family sold the manse to the Ontario Heritage Foundation back in 1984, and Austin's descendants donated the contents to the new museum; each room contains furniture, appliances, crockery and books that belonged to the original residents.
The museum gives a good sense of what high-society life was like a century ago. Enthusiastic staffers provide guided tours, and exhibits are changed frequently to suit a particular theme or season. The extensive historic gardens (free, if you don't enter the museum) are resplendent with the flowers, legumes and herbs of Austin's day. Don't miss the archaeological display on the lower level, which contains items from an even earlier house built on the same foundation by the Baldwin family (of Baldwin steps fame). On special occasions, appetising period dishes are prepared for visitors in the mansion's working kitchen.