Thursday, May 10, 2007


Craigdarroch Castle - Victoria, B.C.

Craigdarroch Castle was built between 1887 and 1890 by Robert Dunsmuir. He built it to announce to the world that he was the richest and most important man in western Canada.

He commissioned architect Warren Heywood Williams of Portland, Oregon to design it. Then he ordered fabricated white oak panelling from Chicago (2182 panels), as well as pre-fabricated stairs, doors, window frames all shipped from Chicago by rail to Victoria. He also commissioned an American studio to design stained and leaded glass windows for almost every room in the house.

But after all that he never lived in it, for he died in 1889, before it was finished.

His wife lived in it for eighteen years. Then the castle land was divided and the works sold to settle the estate of the quarreling family. After a long and checkered history when it was used as a military hospital, the site of Victoria College, a home for the Victoria School Board and finally a music conservatory, it was taken over by a historical society in recent years (Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society). They have restored it to its original grandeur, complete with period furnishings. It has seventeen fireplaces and the stained glass is stunning!

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