Craigdarroch means a “rocky,oak place” in Gaelic, and the castle was built in Victoria, Vancouver Island, British Columbia, between 1887 and 1890, for Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from coal mining on Vancouver Island. Along his road to fame and fortune he became many things to many people, some good, some bad. But he ended up being probably the richest and most important man in Western Canada. He died April 12, 1889 just before construction of the castle was completed so he never lived in it. His wife Joan solely inherited the estate, valued at $15-$20 million US dollars in 1888. Joan lived there from 1890 until her death in 1908.
Over the years the castle has served many other roles, including a military hospital,a college, offices of the school board and a music conservatory. The task of restoring the castle to it’s original state has been ongoing for many years under the guidance and care of the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society. Now hosting about 140,000 visitors a year, supported by a dedicated staff of 14 and 120 volunteers, it’s one of the top attractions of Victoria. It has now become a National Heritage Site of Canada. Located just outside the downtown core, it’s easily reached by car,bus,cycle,taxi or walking. The story of the Dunsmuirs is long and complicated, but quite fascinating. For additional information, visit www.craigdarrochcastle.com
This photo shows the main entrance to the castle, and was taken Oct.18, 2009, with a Fuji S100FS camera.
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