Craigdarroch – a fairytale castle

June 30th, 2013 by Martin Vernon

Once upon a time, in a beautiful land, there lived a wealthy
sweat-shop owner with his wife, two sons and eight daughters.

One day he said to his wife “I will built a beautiful castle for us to live in
so that handsome princes will come to court my princesses.”
So he bought lots of land, commissioned an architect,
employed workers, and used the very best materials money could buy.

Sadly, for this shouldn’t happen in fairy tales, he died a year
before his castle was finished. When he died his wife and family bickered
over his estate and within 20 years the castle had become a raffle prize.

Not all fairy tales have a happy ending.

Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria BC

The castle was Craigdarroch Castle, the man was Robert Dunsmuir. A coal-mining and railways magnate, he died in 1889, a year before the castle was completed.

Craigdarroch Castle had a chequered career in the following years but it is now appreciatively owned by the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society. They have carefully restored it to the glory of its late Victorian heyday with its wonderful woodwork and stained glass.

Craigdarroch Castle staircase

Craigdarroch Castle is visited by 150,000 people each year. There are no gardens to see and its dramatic Scottish baronial exterior is hemmed in by houses in its Rockland neighbourhood. But the four storey interior is magnificent, typically toured in about an hour.

So, when you come to Victoria, do pay a visit to our fairytale castle, Craigdarroch Castle.

Next time, we will visit a different castle built by a different Dunsmuir.

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