Thursday, June 10, 2010

Craigdarrach Castle







I've been meaning to post about some of the places we visited while in Victoria, but it seems that something always comes up and I put things off until it's been a couple of weeks since we went on our little trip and I almost feel as if it's old news and I should just post something else.  That almost happened with this also, but I decided that it's not old news if I haven't told anyone yet, right?  So here we go....

Castle's fascinate me.  I often imagine myself in the mists of Ireland and Scotland, exploring the ruins of old castles, so when I read about Craigdarroch Castle I knew that we had to go.  The castle was built in the late 1800's for Scottish immigrant Robert Dunsmuir and his family.  Mr. Dunsmuir made his fortune in the British Columbia coal industry and had the castle built on a hill overlooking the city as a status symbol of his wealth.  It screamed loud and clear that the wealthiest family in Western Canada lives here.  The castle has 39 rooms or so and they are all lavishly adorned in beautiful woods and incredible stained glass windows. 


I took this picture looking straight up into the staircase.  I can't remember for sure, but I think the castle has six floors, maybe more.  It totally makes you feel a bit dizzy looking up like this, but it's also spectacular.  Look at all of that gorgeous wood and the work that was involved in it.

Unfortunaly, Robert Dunsmuir died before the castle was finished, so he never had a chance to live here.  His wife, Joan and daughters lived in it until the daughters married and moved away and until Joan's death in 1908.  A couple of the Dunsmuir sons also lived in the castle part time, but for the most part it was only occupied by the women of the family. 


This is one of the many parlor type rooms on the first floor.  Each room has a fireplace, all with different beautiful mantels. 

One of the Dunsmuir daughters inherited the castle upon her mothers death, but sold it pretty quickly, so the castle was only in the family for a mere 18 years.  I found that kind of sad, that the patriarch of the family had the castle built, never got to live in it and then it was only kept in the family for such a short time.



Loving this maids apron and thinking about trying to replicate it.  Someday when I stop procrastinating....

After the castle was sold by the family, it was used for a time as a Military Hospital then a music school.  If I'm remembering correctly, it was also used by the school district as offices. 



The billards room where the ladies of the house apparently entertained many friends. 


Inside the Turret Room. This would have been my favorite place had I lived in the castle.  Look at that tile floor.  Beautiful.  Wonderful views of the city from here.  The castle is now surrounded by a very nice neighborhood but was once situated on 28 acres of gardens, streams, ponds and a lake.  Just imagine the view then from this tower.  Would have been incredible.






The Breakfast Room.  This room was beautiful.  Lots of natural light and beautiful furnishings.  Even the dishes were gorgeous.  I want a room just for breakfast.  All set up and waiting for when I leisurelly get out of bed and wander in for some fresh squeezed orange juice.  No servants though.  I don't want that, so who the heck is going to squeeze those oranges?


Headed over to Ancestory.com to do some more tracing on my Scottish ancestors, hoping to find the Dunsmuir line and prove that I should be able to move right into the castle...


7 comments:

~ The Jolly Bee ~ said...

This is so interesting. I love history like this (especially anything associated with a castle). There's one similar to this in the Thousand Islands (between NY and Canada). It's called Boldt Castle and it was deserted when the owner's wife died. It's such a sad story. After years of neglect, it is open to the public now. I love visiting and wandering through the empty, echoing rooms.

Stacey's Treasures said...

What a beutifull castle. I'm sure we are decendents & have been written up in a hidden will. Every woman should own a castle don't you think?

Tipper said...

So pretty. It is sad that he never got to live in it-and then they didn't keep it for long.

Adrienne said...

I love castles, too. If you inherit this one, can I come visit and have tea?
~Adrienne~

Adrienne said...

Oh I could sooo live there! Such a beautiful home - not a bit much at all for a family of four (plus a cat) don't-cha think?

Ok - maybe more than we could swing - how about just the maid, she wouldn't even have to wear that uniform ;-)

Twisted Fencepost said...

What a beautiful place!!!
Wouldn't it be fun to live there atleast for a little while? Especially for a child. Oh the things they could pretend!
Good luck with that ancestry search.

Sarah said...

Hi there! Thanks for coming by my blog, I'm excited we are swap partners AND that we live just a few hours from each other! We are an hour south of Portland. We have dear friends that live in Astoria. We've been once and loved it! When I saw the first castle picture my heart skipped a beat, we've been there too, on our honeymoon, we spent 2 weeks in Victoria, it was beautiful! ;-)