After a brief tea refreshment, we drive back to Victoria to pay a visit to Craigdarroch Castle. Nicknamed today as “Canada’s Castle,” Craigdarroch Castle was built in 1887-90 by the Robert Dunsmuir, a man who made his fortune from coal and railroads. Like many houses built by the nouveau riche of the late 19th Century, to expense was spared and it was built large, originally on a 28-acre estate (although most of the surrounding land was later sold off). For us, it was a fascinating peek into a world mostly only seen in pictures and the sheer massiveness of the house impressed us- one just doesn’t get an idea of the sheer size until they actually experience it in person. 🙂
Here’s are few views of the exterior:
There was renovation going on so I wasn’t able to get the best pictures so here’s one from Wikipedia to help out:
And now for the interior…
The central staircase- there are four floors and a lot of steps…
Part of the entrance hallway.
One of the most interesting things we learned was that in restoring the house, great efforts were made to track down the original furnishings and various other artifacts though auction catalogs and the like- after the death of the Joan Dunsmuir in 1908, the house and its contents were dispersed in a number of sales since none of the heirs lacked the means to buy the others out. Also, ironically enough, Robert Dunsmuir died in 1889 before he could occupy his new house.
Moving along, here are some more views:
One of the hallways…
By now, you probably might have noticed that there were a number of garments on display. Unfortunately there were no signs or anything else that gave any information so it’s hard to know if these were original to the house or merely generic placeholders. But here they are:
This one is definitely late 1890s, especially with the relatively narrow sleeve caps.
Here’s a good view of the side profile.
The chatelaine is amazing.
This one was a bit far away to be able to view properly but it appears to be more of a late 1890s or very early 1900s.
Fairly generic ball gown/evening dress. The staging wasn’t the most optimal.
And for a something Chinese…we’re not sure how that fit in but OK. 🙂
We’re not sure where this fit in but it was fascinating to look at.
Here are some more views of various rooms:
One of the bedrooms.
The billiard room.
Early sewing machine.
The ballroom was closed due to issues with the soundness of the floor but there were a number of dance cards: 🙂
Overall, it was a wonderful experience and we highly recommend it for anyone visiting Victoria.