Craigdarroch Castle's formidable stone structure is one of the most visible landmarks in Victora, British Columbia.
Located high above the Pacific Ocean and overlooking the City of Victoria is the formidable Craigdarroch Castle (the name comes from the Gaelic phrase 'rocky oak place'). Built between 1887 to 1890, Craigdarroch was a symbol of the wealth of its builder, coal magnate Robert Dunsmuir who was the richest and most influential man in Western Canada during the turn of the century. Although he died before its completion in 1889, the house was still home to his wife and other family members until 1908 when Joan Dunsmuir died. Afterwards, the building served as a military hospital, a college, offices and home to the Victoria Conservatory of Music. In 1979 the newly formed Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society started work on making the building a museum, funding its restorative work through donations and admission.
This lavish mansion was Victoria's most notable landmark as it could be seen from land and water - its structure reminiscent of the castles in Robert Dunsmui's native Scotland. Offering over 20,000 square feet of living space across four floors and 39 rooms, Craigdarroch was a gathering place for Victoria's elite who could marvel at the beautiful stained glass windows, intricate oak wood panelling, odd fireplaces and beautiful Victorian furnishings. Originally sprawling across twenty-eight acres, the Castle is now confined to a mere 1.75 acres - most of which is incorporated in the small grassy garden in the back which offers stunning views of Craigdarroch year round.
Prepare to be awed as you step into this magnificent abode from the admissions entrance - the first sight which greets visitors is a magnificent four story staircase which leads to the many floors in Craigdarroch. The first floor has a Library, a Drawing Room and a Dining Room packed with old books, antiques and century old furniture. The second floor offers visitors the opportunity to learn about the Dunsmuirs at the exhibit room as well as the chance to see Mrs. Dunsmuir's Sitting Room and several bedrooms. The third floor also has several bedrooms and the billiard room which was a popular locale with many male visitors to Craigdarroch. The final floor which also leads to the tower was the main room for social events such as dances. The many windows on this floor also offer spectacular views of Victoria to the west and the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the snow capped Olympic Mountain range to the south. After, a quick walk down through the servant's area will lead you to the gift shop and afterwards to the garden to view this stunning structure in its entirety.
One of Victoria's most prominent structures, Craigdarroch Castle (floor map) is the perfect activity throughout the year, providing a glimpse into the history of the region while also offering a peek into the pompous reasoning behind the construction of this formidable house as a reflection of the man who commissioned it.
Use the interactive map below to locate and explore the areas around Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, Vancouver Island1050 Joan Crescent
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