Craigdarroch Castle is a Victoria BC attraction that is not to be missed, especially if you have a penchant for architecture or appreciate history. This stately mansion at 1050 Joan Crescent was built between the years of 1887 and 1890 by a Scottish immigrant named Robert Dunsmuir. It's highland-style reflects Dunsmuir's Scottish roots, and the lavish Victorian accents hint at his immense wealth. In terms of the history of Craigdarroch Castle, it is important to note that Dunsmuir made a fortune in the coal industry. This is especially impressive when you consider that he was just an indentured servant when he arrived in British Columbia.
Robert Dunsmuir's Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria BC was built to announce his status as the "richest man in British Columbia." It also owes its construction to the fact that Dunsmuir wanted to please his socially conscientious wife. The name of the castle is taken from the Gaelic language and means "rocky, oak place," which has something to do with its position overlooking Oak Bay.
The exterior of the 39-room mansion features plenty of British Columbia granite and is accented with multiple turrets and chimneys. Inside, Victorian opulence reigns supreme on all four floors, and by no means will you want to miss the grand Main Hall and Stairwell. This part of Craigdarroch Castle was manufactured by a company based in Chicago and is amazingly detailed. Complementing the intricate woodwork are beautiful stained-glass windows, dazzling Persian rugs, and lavish furnishings. It's quite an place to explore, and as such, it attracts approximately 150,000 visitors on an annual basis.
If you want to learn more about the style and history of Craigdarroch Castle, tours can be enjoyed on a visit. Every visitor is given a self-guided tour booklet once they pay the admission fee, and volunteers are on hand to offer even more information. Special group tours that are designed for fifteen or more people can be arranged in advance. The group tours also cater to student groups of ten people or more.
From time to time, the Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria BC puts on special dinner tours that you might keep an eye out for. It is also known to host a fair amount of other events during the year, the likes of which include concerts and weddings. Anyone hoping to use the splendid mansion for private events should know that the entertainment venues can accommodate up to 200 people. For those who are simply interested in dropping by for a more standard visit, this historic house museum is open daily from 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Extended hours can be enjoyed from June 15 to Labor Day. These peak season hours are 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
As a side note, anyone who is interested in visiting Craigdarroch Castle can also look to add a Hatley Castle visit to their Victoria itinerary. Hatley Castle was built by Robert Dunsmuir's son James in 1908, and it too is an architectural gem. You can find Hatley Castle in the Victoria area city of Colwood. The museum portion is open daily from 10:15 a.m. to 3 p.m. If nothing else, touring the grounds and enjoying the spectacular views can be a joy for Hatley Castle visitors. The castle overlooks a lagoon and the Straits of Juan de Fuca. Farther off in the distance, Washington State's Olympic Mountains provide a dynamic backdrop for it all.