HATLEY PARK NATIONAL HISTORIC SITE
AND … A MOVIE STAR!
James Dunsmuir commissioned Samuel Maclure, a Victorian architect, to design the “Castle”. Local stone, trimmed by Valdez and Saturna Island sandstone was used in the building’s construction. Its impressive exterior is matched only by the lavishness of the interior appointments; oak and rosewood panelled rooms, baronial fireplace, teak floors, and specially made lighting fixtures. James is quoted as saying: “Money doesn’t matter, just build what I want.”
Hatley Castle is now home of Royal Roads University and is a National Historic Site.
Use in TV and film
- Hatley Castle is shown in the Smallville television series as Luthor Mansion, the estate belonging to Lex Luthor.
- The castle is the setting of the X-Men film series (beginning in 2000) as Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. It was first used for the School in the 1996 made-for-TV X-Men film Generation X.
- The castle is the house of Hubert, dog protagonist of The Duke
- It was used in the 1997 movie, Masterminds as Shady Glen School, supposedly a private elementary school in California.
- The castle was used in MacGyver TV series. In the second episode of season 5, “The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 2”, as a hideout for the episode’s villain.
- In the TV series Seven Days, episode 9 of season 2, “Love and Other Disasters”, the castle is used as a home for a royal family and a place for royal wedding.
- In the series Poltergeist: The Legacy, Hatley Castle was the headquarters of the San Francisco legacy.
- Many scenes of Fierce People (2004) were filmed in the interior and exterior of Hatley castle. It was used as the stately home of the rich family clan of Ogden C. Osborne.
- The ending scenes of The Changeling (1979) were filmed inside Hatley Castle.
- Big Time Movie based on the TV series Big Time Rush is being filmed on some parts of the property for 2011
- Shown in the Arrow television series as Queen Mansion, home of Oliver Queen and his family.
- Shown in the Witches of East End television series as Home of Gardiner family
The castle is open only to the public with a guided tour (see below for times and fees), however the grounds surrounding it are open to wander at your leisure. Since it faces the Esquimalt Lagoon, the views are spectacular!
The castle has a small museum with some local history displayed in the basement which you can access next to the garden entrance just off the rear driveway. This is also where the gift shop and restrooms are located. There is no fee for the museum.
There are parking fees on the grounds – $1/hour.
HATLEY PARK GARDENS
Adjacent to the castle is the famed Hatley Park Gardens. There are individual ‘styled’ gardens to see, including the Italian, Rose and Japanese gardens. There is a large pond and often you can see varieties of duck, turtles and the occassional heron. A beautiful spot to wander and relax.
There is a fee to enter the gardens (see below).
In addition to the formal gardens, the castle sits within over 560 acres of beautiful old-growth forest with miles of walking trails that are free to explore! On the east side of the castle/grounds (to your left as you’re facing the ocean), there is a great trail following Colwood Creek that
wanders through some beautiful forested areas with a waterfall at one end! It can be accessed just off the road that circles the grounds and it’s called “Charlie’s Trail” at the bottom end and circles back to the road at “The Glens Garden & Trail”. There is a bit of stair climbing to be done but nothing strenuous.
If you head west (to your right at the bottom of the road nearest the water) you’ll be on a fairly flat trail that first heads up to a fenced property (part of the college) and you can either head west on a dirt road that leads into the trails, or continue up the path and turn left at the end of the road (very shortly after the gated house) and it also leads into the forested trail. There are lots of beautiful giant trees, wildflowers, salal, etc., and it’s a great place to walk your dog. You don’t have to worry about getting lost as the property is fenced and eventually it all leads back to the castle/grounds. And it’s FREE!! (see map below)
If you’re willing to be a bit adventurous … you can park outside the grounds (for free) and wander those trails around the castle. There is a gate (not locked) into the property at 2 access points off Heatherbell Road. You can park at the side of the road and walk in from there.
The first is at the junction of Heatherbell & Lagoon Rd. Park on the side of the road (you’ll see a wide spot for parking off the road) and enter through the gate at the corner of the property. Miles of trails and if you keep to your right it will eventually take you to the castle.
The second is at the end of Heatherbell Road. The road ends at the entrance to the Coast Collective property (see the post on that for more interesting places to go!). Do not drive into the property … parking there is only for the Coast Collective. Turn around and park on the side of the road across from the houses on the other side. You’ll see the spots. There’s not a lot but enough for a few cars.
Then walk across the little bridge, down the road about 100 ft and find
the gate on your left into the grounds. It’s not locked. Walk up the trail through a field and then feel free to wander! Again … if you want to get into the castle grounds themselves, keep right and you’ll eventually get there. VERY nice trails!
So, while this means you can get to the castle as well without parking fees inside the grounds … fees still apply for the formal gardens and the guided castle tours!
The castle is located in the municipality of ‘Colwood’ and is only a short drive from downtown.
Address: 2005 Sooke Rd.
Take #1 Hwy (Trans Canada) to the ‘Colwood’ turnoff (Hwy 1A) (you’ll exit right but the road will circle around and bear left) then drive approximately 3.5 km and you will see the entrance to the site on the left. The sign is to Royal Roads University which is now housed in Hatley Castle and surrounding buildings.