Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society
1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC, V8S 3L5
If you’re visiting Victoria in search of the European ambience that distinguishes the city, your visit won’t be complete without a trip to the stunning, hilltop Craigdarroch Castle.
|Payment |||MasterCard, Visa, Interac, Cash|
|Getting There |||A short drive or walk up Fort Street, then right on Joan Cres.|
|Cross Street |||Fort Street|
|Open daily in the Fall, Winter & Spring from 10AM – 5PM From June 15 through Labour Day the hours are 9AM – 7:30PM|
Profile Last Updated: August 26, 2008
Craigdarroch Castle has a long and tumultuous history. Built between 1887 and 1890, the mansion was commissioned by coal magnate Robert Dunsmuir. It is named for the Gaelic word meaning “rocky, oak place.” Sadly, Dunsmuir died before construction finished. In the decades that followed the castle was raffled off, used as collateral for business transactions, and lost to the bank – which eventually opened it up for public use. It existed in a variety of incantations before becoming the museum it is today, including a hospital for WW1 vets, Victoria College and the Victoria Conservatory of Music
True Victorian Elegance
Today it’s owned by the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society, and receives the majority of its funding from the 150, 000 people who visit each year. The building is 4 1/2 stories tall, and boasts 39 elegantly restored rooms. Eighty-seven stairs may sound daunting but it’s an easy climb and there’s plenty to look at along the way. At the end you’re rewarded with a sweeping tower-top view of downtown Victoria, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Washington’s breathtaking Olympic Mountains. The mansion is elaborately furnished in Victorian style and the rooms are finished in grains as rich and varied as walnut, ebony, maple, teak and rosewood. The house and gardens are an ongoing restoration project. Most days you can see local artisans working on the house and its two-acre garden.
Be Your Guest
Tours through the house are self-guided, and usually take 45 minutes. Included in the price of admission is a floor map, family history and introduction to the house. These are available in English, French, Japanese, Mandarin, German, Spanish, and Korean. A gift shop offers Victorian-era replicas, Castle memorabilia, and local artists’ work.
Note: During the Holiday Season the Castle has many special Christmas events; call to find out more.