CRAIGDARROCH CASTLE

  • Craigdarrach Castle, Victoria, BC

CRAIGDARROCH CASTLE

Craigdarroch Castle – a National Historic Site

Craigdarroch Castle was completed in 1890 by the coal baron Robert Dunsmuir.  It has 39 rooms and is over 25,000 square feet in size.  The wealth and extravagance of the Dunsmuir family can be seen in the elaborate stone structure, the intricate woodwork, spectacular stained glass and the lavish furnishings. Unfortunatley, Robert Dunsmuir passed away just 17 months before the castle’s completion but his wife, Joan, three of their daughters and two orphaned grandchildren lived on the estate until 1908.

Craigdarroch Castle is believed to have cost as much as $500,000 when it was built, and included granite from British Columbia, Minton tile from the U.K., sandstone from San Francisco, and the wood work prefabricated in Chicago.  When originally constructed Craigdarroch stood in grounds comprising 28 acres (110,000 m2) of a mixture of formal gardens, a few embellishments such as man-made ponds, lawns and the rest (about 26 acres) natural Garry Oak landscapes – all located in Victoria’s Rockland neighbourhood.  You’ll find it just off Fort Street at 1050 Joan Crescent just a short drive or leisurely walk from Victoria’s inner harbour.

The Castle subsequently was used as the Craigdarroch Military Hospital from 1919-1921, the Victoria College from 1921-1946, the Victoria Conservatory of Music from 1969-1979 and subsequently became a museum in 1979, run by a not-for-profit charity, The Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society and is now a Designated National Historic Site.  The Museum Society has done an amazing job restoring most of the castle to it’s original glory and is still in the process of restoration.  A good example is the beautiful hand painted and stenciled ceiling in the Drawing room, which was restored by a fine art conservator who first had to remove five coats of house paint.

Craigdarrach Castle, Victoria, BC

Craigdarrach Castle

Now experience Craigdarroch Castle like never before!

The Craigdarroch Historical Museum Society recently developed a state-of-the-art application that brings to life the colourful occupants of this 39-room Victorian manor!

As part of their admission fee, visitors receive a floor map and a short history to guide them on their tour – those who want to can also (for an additional fee) rent a tablet, which adds another layer of information to their experience.  The iPad application focuses on three major themes in the story of the Castle:  architecture, gender roles and social class, and incorporates authentic voice actors playing he parts of historical figures associated with the Castle.

As visitors progress through the Castle rooms, sounds on the tablet indicate that high-definition images of artifacts, portraits of inhabitants and video segments are available for viewing.  Each story line also has an augmented reality scene whereby period furnishings digitally appear in a bedroom; dancers animate the dance hall and trees and shrubbery indicate what the estate’s original grounds were like.

Carigdarroch Main Hall HDR

Hours of Operation

Open daily from 10am – 4:30pm, with extended hours from June 15th to September 6th (9am – 7pm).

(Please note – closed December 25th, 26th and January 1st)

Admission

(As of January 2016)

Adults  $14.25

Seniors  $13.25

Students  $9.25 (13+ with Valid ID)

Children  $5.00 (6-12)

*Children 5 and under are free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Greater Victoria Public Library cardholders can now visit one of Canada’s most treasured historical sites for free just by borrowing a Craigdarroch Castle ePass from the library. The pass provides free general admission to Craigdarroch Castle for two adults and two youth (ages 6-18), and children under five are free. Passes are valid for seven days and can be redeemed for a single visit. For detail please follow the link to the GVPL website.

For more information on Craigdarroch Castle, click HERE.

craigdarroch map

Craigdarroch front entance

The Front Entrance – notice the curved door which is on the base of the tower

Craigdarrach Stairs

Main Entrance Stairs

Craigdarroch Dining Room

The Dining Room

Craigdarroch Stairs

The Stairs

Craigdarroch Stairs

Intricate Stained Glass in in the tower stairwell

The Drawing Room, Craigdarroch Castle

The Drawing Room at Christmas

Drawing Room, Craigdarroch Castle

Drawing Room – Note the painted ceiling

Craigdarroch Master Bedroom

The Master Bedroom – was originally much larger

Robert Harvey's Bedroom, Craigdarroch Castle

Robert Harvey’s Bedroom

Craigdarroch Castle Billiards Room

Billiards Room

Craigdarroch Billiards Room

Billiards Room

Craigdarroch Music Rm HDR

The Music Room

Craigdarroch Smoking Room

The Smoking Room

 

Save

Save

You Might Also Like These!

About the Author:

I've lived in Victoria over 30 years. I've travelled the world but I still believe that no other city beats Victoria for it's sheer beauty and variety of activities available year round. I sincerely want to help others explore and enjoy this great city - and hopefully make you want to come back again and again!

Leave A Comment