Craigdarroch Castle, Victoria, BC

Pronounced Craig Derek, Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia is a shining example of a home built from the North American industrial revolution. The castle’s name is Gaelic for “Rocky Oak Place”, which describes the original 28-acre estate, owned by Robert Dunsmuir. When Robert Dunsmuir struck it rich in the railway industry he quickly began […]

Life + Leisure Travel and Getaways Brian Webb

This article was published on November 17th, 2013

Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BCPronounced Craig Derek, Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, British Columbia is a shining example of a home built from the North American industrial revolution. The castle’s name is Gaelic for “Rocky Oak Place”, which describes the original 28-acre estate, owned by Robert Dunsmuir.

The dining room inside Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC

When Robert Dunsmuir struck it rich in the railway industry he quickly began investing in real estate. He started in 1882 by acquiring a five acre plot of land in Victoria, B.C., and over the next five years would purchase a total of 28 acres, making the original estimate. Today, 1.75 acres remain of the original estate, the remaining acres were parceled off in 1909 and beyond to form what is now called the Rockland neighbourhood.

A parlour inside the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC

Dunsmuir hired Warren Heywood Williams, a prominent Portland, Oregon, architect to design the home. Construction began in 1887 and took 37 months to complete. Unfortunately, Williams would never see his work completed, and Arthur L. Smith, from the same firm, would see to the competition of the project in 1890.

The billiard room inside the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC

The castle boasts 26,000 sq ft of space, including the living quarters, balconies and the basement. The finest supplies and materials came from across North America to create the masterpiece:

  • Red slate roof – Vermont / New York
  • Interior oak paneling – Arkansas
  • Spanish mahogany (library), western red cedar (Porte Cochere entrance), cherry (breakfast room), Hawaiian koa (drawing room), and a variety of exotic woods (parquet floors throughout)

Stained glass windows in the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC

Intricate stained and leaded glass windows in the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BCCraigdarroch Castle also features one of North America’s best collections of Victorian residential stained and leaded glass. Of the original 47 original art glass windows, 32 are still in tact. The majority feature floral and foliage themes, however, a few depicted historical figures.

While Craigdarroch Castle is open year-round, special Christmas tours are hosted throughout the month of December. The special holiday tour, led by guides in period-appropriate costumes, explains Victorian Christmas traditions and some of the Dunsmuir family.

For more information visit the Craigdarroch Castle website. Victoria is full of history and is a great place to stay for the weekend. To help plan your visit, visit the Tourism Victoria website.

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