Craigdarroch Castle is an example of a “bonanza castle”, massive houses built for men who became wealthy because of the industrial transformation of North America. In 1887, two years after the last spike had been driven on the Esquimalt and Nanaimo railway, and five years after he started accumulating 28 acres of property, Robert Dunsmuir gave the order to start building Craigdarroch. It was built from 1887 to 1890 for him and his family, but Robert, unfortunately, died in 1889 before the house was finished. His wife Joan, with several of their children, however, lived there until 1908. Later, the castle was extensively renovated by the federal Department of Soldiers Civil Re-establishment before opening as a military hospital in September, 1919. After the war, the Castle housed Victoria College for a number of years until 1946 when it reached capacity.
Craigdarroch is a Gaelic word, which means “Rocky Oak Place” and describes the grounds of the original 28-acre estate. The Castle now houses many important objects from Craigdarroch and other Dunsmuir houses; it also has one of North America’s finest collections of Victorian residential stained and leaded glass windows. Visitors can, in addition, walk around the remaining 1.75 acres of the original estate grounds. This video presents the history of the Craigdarroch Castle.
Admission rates can be found here.
Open daily 10:00am – 4:30pm
June 15th to September 6th: 9:00am – 7:00pm
Parking is available.
Photo: Tracy O