Craigdarroch Castle

Canada's Castle

Craigdarroch Castle Victoria British Columbia
Built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir during the reign of Queen Victoria

This enormous house found in the Rockland area of Victoria is a monument to the industry boom of the turn of the century. Industrialization brought with it fortunes for those in a position to exploit it and Craigdarroch Castle is the prominent expression of that wealth.

Described as a 'bonanza castle' on the official website for Craigdarroch Castle, it was the project of Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish migrant. His fortune was a result of capitalizing on coal production from Vancouver Island for the Royal Navy and demand from San Francisco.

Construction was started in 1887 and completed three years later. Unfortunately, Dunsmuir died in 1889 before being able to move into the house but his wife inherited the estate and lived in the house until her own death in 1908.

Ownership of the house eventually passed out of the family hands and into public use. This including a period as a military hospital in 1919 for rehabilitating soldiers, a college for higher education in 1920 and also a music conservatory by the mid-twentieth century. Students from the conservatory still play at the house on occasion to this day for special events.

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