I adore castles. They are the stuff of fairy tales. (Even when the real stories behind them are not terribly romantic.) So earlier this summer, when I was taking my daughter to Washington state for a summer internship, we decided to take a couple extra days and explore Victoria, British Columbia. And the first thing I looked for . . . castles!
Craigdarroch Castle was built between 1887-1890 for Robert Dunsmuir who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal. The castle has one of North America’s finest collections of Victorian residential stained glass windows.
I took far too many pictures to share them all, so I tried to grab a sampling. They have done a fabulous job of restoring the castle rooms with period antiques and mannequins dressed in Victorian clothing, so my history-loving soul was lapping it up.
It was impossible to get a picture of the entire exterior from the small parking lot surrounding it, so I opted for a corner view that showed off the turret tower.
Here we are looking up the stairwell from the entry way. The paneling was gorgeous!
This one of my favorite Victorian artifacts in the house. This was in the library on the main floor. A book stand with a candle. How easily I pictured myself back in those times working a piece of embroidery while reading a novel. Loved it!
Here is part of the long drawing room. I loved the columns and the gilt work on them. Half was set up as a music room while the other half was more of a place to sit and have tea. (My daughter is obviously thrilled to be in yet another of Mom’s photos. Ha!)
This is one of the Dunsmuir daughters’ bedrooms. I loved the details in the washstand and the moveable stand that would allow her to take tea in bed or work on some correspondence. You can also see some of the stained glass that adorned windows in nearly every room of the family’s portion of the residence. Every set of leaded glass windows sported a unique design.
Here is one of the landings in the stairwell with lovely stained glass.
We finally made it all the way up into the tower and found this intricate mosaic floor. The view was spectacular as well. I can only imagine how much better it would have been when it was surrounded by rolling hills and countryside instead of city buildings.
In contrast to the daughter’s bedroom, this room was reserved for the mistress’s top servant. Notice the sewing machine and silver to polish. She would never sit idle.
This next photo is a bit clever writing that tickled my funny bone. In 1919, the federal government leased the castle and used it as a military hospital for WWI veterans. In 1921, the castle was used as a school – Victoria College. In 1968, it was taken over by the Victoria Conservatory of Music who remained there until 1979. At that point, The Castle Society was allowed to begin work in transforming Craigdarroch into a museum. However, during the 1970’s, while the conservatory was in full swing, the castle played host to many concerts. This tongue-in-cheek article describes one such evening of entertainment. As a writer, I fully enjoyed the clever repartee.
I hope you enjoy the pictures!
Have you ever visited a caste? If so, which one?
Bargain Book Bonus
It’s rare to have a new release go on sale so soon after making its debut, but Zach and Abigail’s story is doing just that. If you haven’t read More Than Words Can Say yet, now’s your chance to get the e-book version for only $1.99! And if you have read it, this would make a wonderful summer gift to email to a friend or family member.