Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, Canada and is located on the southern tip of Vancouver Island off Canada's Pacific coast. The city has a population of about 78,000 within the metropolitan area of Greater Victoria, which has a population of 360,063, the 15th most populous Canadian...
, British Columbia
British Columbia is the westernmost of Canada's provinces and is known for its natural beauty, as reflected in its Latin motto, Splendor sine occasu . Its name was chosen by Queen Victoria in 1858...
, is a historic, Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion. The mansion was designated a National Historic Site of Canada due to its landmark status in Victoria.
Craigdarroch Castle has 39 rooms and over 20000 square feet (1,858.1 m²). It was constructed in the 1890s as a family residence for the wealthy coal baron Robert Dunsmuir
Robert Dunsmuir was a Scottish-Canadian coal miner, railway developer, industrialist and politician. -Origins in Scotland:...
and his wife Joan. Robert died in April 1889, more than a year before construction on the castle was completed. His sons Alexander and James took over the role of finishing the castle after his death. The initial architect of the castle, Warren Heywood Williams
Warren Heywood Williams was born in New York City in 1844. He apprenticed in San Francisco as an architect at the firm of his father, Stephen H. Williams & Henry W. Cleaveland. Warren Heywood Williams and his wife had two sons Warren Franklin Williams and David Lockhead Williams , who were...
, also died before completion of the castle. His work was taken over by his associate, Arthur L. Smith, in 1890. James Dunsmuir also commissioned the construction of Victoria's second castle; Hatley Castle located in Colwood, British Columbia.
Craigdarroch Castle is believed to have cost as much as $500,000 when it was built, and included granite from British Columbia, tile from San Francisco, and an oak staircase prefabricated in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...
. When originally constructed Craigdarroch stood in grounds comprising 27 acres (109,265.2 m²) of formal gardens in Victoria's Rockland
-Places:In Canada*Rockland, Greater Victoria*Rockland, Nova Scotia*Rockland, OntarioIn the United States*Rockland, California*Rockland, Delaware*Rockland, Idaho*Rockland, Maine*Rockland, Massachusetts*Rockland, New York*Rockland County, New York...
Upon the death of Robert Dunsmuir's widow, Joan, the Craigdarroch estate was sold to land speculator Griffith Hughes for $38,000 who subdivided the estate into buildings lots. To stimulate sales during a slow real estate market, Griffiths announced that the castle would be the subject of a raffle, to be won by one of the purchasers of the residential parcels carved from the estate. The winner, Solomon Cameron, mortgaged the castle to finance other speculative ventures which failed, leaving him broke, and in 1919 ownership of the castle passed to one of Cameron's creditors, the Bank of Montreal
The Bank of Montreal , , or BMO Financial Group, is the fourth largest bank in Canada by deposits. The Bank of Montreal was founded on June 23, 1817 by John Richardson and eight merchants in a rented house in Montreal, Quebec. On May 19, 1817 the Articles of Association were adopted, making it...
The four-story Craigdarroch Castle still has lavish furnishings from the 1890s and is known for its stained-glass and intricate woodwork. The Castle is currently owned by the Craigdarroch Castle Historical Museum Society, which is a private non-profit society, and is open to the public. The castle is a tourist attraction, and receives 150,000 visitors a year.
The Institute for stained glass in Canada has documented the stained glass at Craigdarroch Castle
The castle has been used in such films as Little Women
Little Women is a 1994 American drama film directed by Gillian Armstrong. The screenplay by Robin Swicord is based on the Louisa May Alcott novel of the same name. It is the fifth feature film adaptation of the Alcott classic, following silent versions released in 1917 and 1918, a 1933 George...
(1994), Spooky House
(2000) and Cats & Dogs
Cats & Dogs is a 2001 American-Australian action-comedy film directed by Lawrence Guterman. The screenplay by John Requa and Glenn Ficarra centers on the relationships between cats and dogs. It was shot in Victoria and Vancouver. The film was released on July 4, 2001 by Warner Bros...
Since 2000, the castle has hosted a series of site-specific theatrical productions, including The Fall of the House of Usher
"The Fall of the House of Usher" is a short story by Edgar Allan Poe, first published in September 1839 in Burton's Gentleman's Magazine. It was slightly revised in 1840 for the collection Tales of the Grotesque and Arabesque...
, H.G. Wells' The War of the Worlds
The War of the Worlds is an 1898 science fiction novel written by H. G. Wells.The War of the Worlds may also refer to:- Radio broadcasts :* The War of the Worlds , the 1938 radio broadcast by Orson Welles...
, a Sherlock Holmes
Sherlock Holmes is a fictional detective created by Scottish author and physician Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The fantastic London-based "consulting detective", Holmes is famous for his astute logical reasoning, his ability to take almost any disguise, and his use of forensic science skills to solve...
adaptation, a revue of Shakespearean love scenes, I Might Be Edgar Allan Poe
, The Mysterious Mr Love
, The Coming of Mr. Pine
, The Great Love of Queen Victoria, and The Picture of Dorian Gray
The Picture of Dorian Gray is the only published novel by Oscar Wilde, appearing as the lead story in Lippincott's Monthly Magazine on 20 June 1890, printed as the July 1890 issue of this magazine...
in 2008. An original adaptation of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde
was slated for 2009. The Importance of Being Earnest
The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People is a play by Oscar Wilde. First performed on 14 February 1895 at St. James's Theatre in London, it is a farcical comedy in which the protagonists maintain fictitious personae in order to escape burdensome social obligations...
was shown in 2010.
The home had six main eras of occupation:
- The Dunsmuir era (1890-1908)
- The Military Hospital Era (1919-1921)
- Victoria College Era (1921-1946)
- Victoria School Board Office Era (1946-1968)
- Victoria Conservatory of Music Era (1969-1979)
- Museum Era (1979-Present)