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Delving into the Grandeur of Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC

Delving into the Grandeur of Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC

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If you’re feeling like going for a trip with all the beauty and grandeur, head over to Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC. Check out my review below and how I had the time of my life!

This post about Delving into the Grandeur of Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC, was written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links, which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

When we saw that Victoria, BC, offered a tour of a castle, we figured we should probably check it out. Thankfully, Craigdarroch Castle was a stop on our Victoria Sightseeing Tour. The road to Craigdarroch Castle was narrow, so our tour bus dropped us at the bottom of the hill, and we walked up. This was cool because we got that “Oh Wow” moment when the castle appeared around the corner.

As soon as we entered, we were instructed to clean our shoes using a machine that brushed dirt from the soles. I’ve never seen anything like that before, but it sure beats wearing those booties over shoes! I appreciated that they asked us to do that. It means they take pride in the Castle and are serious about preservation.

Once we entered, we were able to explore just about all the rooms. Craigdarroch Castle, built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir during the reign of Queen Victoria, is now a National Historic Site. It has been meticulously restored, giving visitors a glimpse of privileged life in the 1890s.

As we walked around, I was reminded so much of Iolani Palace in Hawaii. Both homes had possessions sold and distributed long ago, and volunteers are now painstakingly trying to locate items found in old photos. Many people in Victoria probably have something that belonged to the Castle and have no idea. Craigdarroch Castle also reminded me a lot of Downton Abbey. How could it not?

Volunteers and staff have done a fantastic job bringing Craigdarroch Castle to life with their displays.

Volunteers and staff have done a fantastic job bringing Craigdarroch Castle to life with their displays.

A Piece of History and Beauty

The house itself is stunning. Apparently, they had to scrape several layers of wallpaper off the ceiling to reveal the original. The wall pieces were all shipped in from Chicago and were of a quality you can’t find anymore. I appreciated all the stained glass, especially on the top floor, where there is an observation room with views of Victoria.

The people of Craigdarroch Castle have done a marvelous job posting information about the home and the Dunsmuir Family. These signs really brought every room to life.

Robert and Joan Dunsmuir had two sons, eight daughters, and one child who died in infancy. Robert Dunsmuir gave the orders to start building Craigdarroch in 1887. Three Dunsmuir daughters remained unmarried, and the mansion would have been the perfect venue to launch them into married life. Unfortunately, he died in April 1889 before the house was completed.

After Robert’s death, Joan traveled to Europe. While she was there, her sons oversaw the completion of the construction, and Joan, with her three unmarried daughters and two orphaned grandchildren, took up residence in 1890. There was a lot of family drama until Joan died in 1908.

My favorite thing to look at was the authentic clothing on display. Even though I watch a lot of period pieces in movies and television, it’s remarkable to see them so close that you can really take note of the details. It was easy to see how someone would need assistance to get dressed properly.

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Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum, managed by the Castle Historical Museum Society, continues ongoing restoration efforts at 1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria.

People interested in historic homes, great architecture, or juicy stories love to stop at Craigdarroch Castle. Several volunteers stationed throughout the Castle are incredibly knowledgeable about the Dunsmuir family and the restoration progress.

Getting to Craigdarroch National Historic Site by tour bus or taxi from Downtown Victoria is easy. Depending on crowds, you may want to allow yourself more than the 40-minute tour bus stop.

You can also opt for a self-guided tour of the castle at your preferred pace. If this historic site of Canada is something you love, you might as well visit a nearby historical museum or somewhere in British Columbia.

What else is there to do in Victoria, BC?

Ultimate Babymoon in Victoria, BC
Babymooning at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria, BC
The Butchart Gardens in Victoria, BC
Royal BC Museum in Victoria, BC
Afternoon Tea at Abkhazi Garden

Delving into the Grandeur of Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria, BC

 Tourism Victoria provided admission to Craigdarroch Castle for review purposes.
 
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