Castle du jour: Craigdarroch Castle

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, along with their two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, have finally arrived in British Columbia! For the majority of their West Coast tour, they will make their base in the province’s capital, Victoria (aside from a short stay in Whitehorse), where they will be staying at Government House. Not too far from where the Cambridges will be staying is a historic house called Craigdarroch Castle.

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Craigdarroch Castle is a Victorian mansion and family residence of Scottish-born coal baron, Robert Dunsmuir, and his family. The mansion was built between 1887-1890. Unfortunately, one year before completion, Robert Dunsmuir died and the estate was left to his widow, Joan (nee White). (The address, by the way, is 1050 Joan Crescent.) She and their three unmarried daughters and two orphaned grandchildren moved in to the mansion in 1890. Joan lived there until her death in 1908, after which, her daughters sold the castle to a real estate developer. The Castle went through different phases: from being a military hospital, college, music conservatory, before finally becoming a museum in 1979.

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With four floors and 39 rooms, the Scottish Baronial ‘castle’ is a showcase of the immense wealth the Dunsmuirs enjoyed. As I did not get the chance to go in, please visit the Castle’s website to see photos inside the large mansion.

James, the son of Robert Dunsmuir, later built his own castle, Hatley Castle, in Colloid (Greater Victoria Area), which was filmed as Professor Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters for the X-Men films.