Craigdarroch Castle was once the exquisite mansion of coal baron John Dunsmuir. Since becoming a National Historic Site, it has been undergoing a beautiful transformation to its original glory.
It is open year round for tours and is especially attractive when decorated in the Victorian manner, for the Christmas season.
Craigdarroch has one of North America’s finest collections of Victorian residential stained and leaded glass windows, along with the many varieties of carved woods, local and exotic, that were used on the floors, walls, ceilings, and staircases and bannisters.
An amazing ballroom fills almost the entire top floor, with its turrets and alcoves, and lovely balconies with stunning city and ocean vistas, where long ago debutantes and their escorts would “take the evening air”, enjoying the views over the 28 acre estate, on one of the town’s highest hill tops.
After the passing of the Dunsmuirs, the structure has served as a public building over the years … a military veterans’ hospital after WWI, a college affiliated with Montreal’s McGill University, schoolboard offices, the Victoria Conservatory of Music, and finally as a museum, before being established as a historic site.