Craigdarroch Castle in Victoria is an imposing Victorian mansion completed in 1890 for Robert and Joan Dunsmuir, Scottish immigrants who made their fortune from Vancouver Island coal.
Robert Dunsmuir died in 1889, just months before his majestic Craigdarroch Castle was completed. Although he arrived on Vancouver Island a poor coal miner, he built an empire and became the wealthiest and most influential man in British Columbia.
The fortune Dunsmuir amassed is reflected in every piece of the finest wood, stone and glass meticulously tooled to create Craigdarroch Castle, now a national historic museum featuring an extensive collection of stained and lead glass windows, magnificent woodwork, Victorian furnishings and decorative arts.
To tour the Castle, you can park on the Castle lot or on the street where indicated. You enter through the old coach entrance, pay your admission fee, clean your shoes and are then provided with a floor map, family history and introduction as to how to proceed. Tours are self-guided, so you can stop where you want. It should take you 45 minutes to an hour to tour through the Castle.
It is an easy climb up the 87 stairs, stopping on all of the four floors to tour the various rooms and then to the Tower for a panoramic view of Victoria, the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the snow capped Olympic Mountains. There are volunteer docents (information providers) available throughout the Castle. If you have any questions, ask someone with a badge and they will be happy to assist you.
A visit to Craigdarroch Castle is essential to truly appreciate the lavish lifestyle Joan Dunsmuir and her family enjoyed.
Open daily: 10 am – 4:30 pm
Extended hours from June 15 to Labour Day: 9 am – 7 pm
Closed Christmas Day (Dec 25)
Closed Boxing Day (Dec 26)
Closed New Year’s Day (Jan 1)
1050 Joan Crescent (Off Fort Street)
An easy eight-minute drive from the inner harbour, up Fort Street, right on Joan Crescent. Parking is available. A 40-45 minute walk from the inner harbour, up Fort Street, along Antique Row and various interesting shops and sights.