Craigdarroch Castle stands tall and imposing atop a hill near downtown Victoria, BC. Built by wealthy Scottish coal baron Robert Dunsmuir in the late 1800s, this majestic Victorian-style castle is one of the most popular attractions in the city. Now open for tours, Craigdarroch Castle offers visitors a glimpse into what life was like for an affluent family over 100 years ago.
Let’s take a closer look at this historic landmark!
History of the Castle
Robert Dunsmuir was one of the wealthiest men on Vancouver Island when he commissioned the construction of Craigdarroch Castle in 1887. He hired famous American architect Warren Heywood Williams to design a grand, Romanesque-style home that would reflect his status as one of British Columbia’s elite. The resulting four-story structure consists of 39 rooms and is known for its intricate woodwork and stained glass windows, and is now a recognized National Historic Site.
Though Robert Dunsmuir passed away before its completion, his wife Joan and their children moved into Craigdarroch Castle in 1890. The castle remained in the family’s possession until Joan died in 1908. It was later used as a hospital for veterans returning from World War I and subsequently an educational institution and musical conservatory. In 1979, Craigdarroch Castle became open to visitors for guided tours. It has also been used as a set for several notable movies, including Little Women (1994).
Today’s Visitor Experience
When you visit Craigdarroch Castle today, you’ll be able to explore its many rooms and hallways while learning about its fascinating history from knowledgeable tour guides. You’ll see original furniture pieces (some dating back to 1875) that provide insight into how both Victorian-era elites and everyday middle-class families lived during this time. And if you’re lucky enough to get a peek inside Robert Dunsmuir’s bedroom suite on your tour, you’ll also learn about some of his secrets!
They also have an on-site gift shop, and regularly host performances (like the iconic Frankenstein, and a Christmas Carol) to dazzle visitors.
Craigdarroch Castle is a must-see attraction for anyone visiting Victoria, BC. Not only is it an architectural marvel with rich historical significance, but it also provides visitors with a unique look at what the life of luxury was like over 100 years ago on Vancouver Island’s west coast. To truly experience all that this majestic Victorian-style castle has to offer travellers, be sure to book your tour today!
Staying in Victoria
Planning a trip to Victoria? Staying at the Oswego Hotel is a great choice for anyone looking for convenience and comfort on their trip. Our prime location makes it easy to get to popular attractions like Craigdarroch Castle, while our spacious rooms come equipped with modern amenities. Stay in our 80 modern studios or one of our one and two-bedroom luxurious suites, all of which are pet-friendly. Whatever your plans are in Victoria, staying at the Oswego Hotel will make sure that you have a pleasant and memorable experience!