Tea time at the castle (and a little local history)
“No one knows what makes the soul wake up so happy! Maybe a dawn breeze has blown the veil from the face of God.“- Rumi
This castle was built in 1906-07 by the son of Coal Baron Robert Dunsmuir, who made his fortune on Vancouver Island in the late 1800’s. Robert Dunsmuir first built Craigdarroch Castle (1890) on the Fairfield hilltop because he wanted to bring a touch of Scotland to the New World for his homesick and beloved wife, Joan. They had become the nouveau riche on the island and of course slightly looked down upon by any true aristocrats from the British Empire that happened to live in the prosperous and growing town of Fort Victoria (such as the O’Reilly’s from Pt. Ellice House who came from an old Irish family).
Hatley castle was designed by architect James MacLure and remained in the Dunsmuir family until 1937. Newer buildings were added on the grounds in a 40’s style architecture. It became a military academy, remaining so for many years and was finally turned into a University with ties to the Armed Forces. The acres of grounds and gardens are peaceful and beautiful. They begin on the portico in the upper rose gardens behind the castle and have paths that lead down to the woodland gardens, the rolling lawns with huge oak and cedar trees, Japanese gardens, and on to the swan filled lagoon that looks out onto the Strait of Juan de Fuca. There are gazebos by the ponds and streams for visitors to picnic and have tea .
Because Victorians are very fond of ghosts as well as gardens, paranormal societies carried out investigations and have declared Hatley Castle haunted much to the delight of all would be ghost busters and those who communicate in other dimensions etc.
Craigdarroch castle is here:
and the haunted story of Hatley Castle is here
Play The Bonny Swans by Loreena McKennitt
My Lagoon image was chosen for “Around the World in 10 Photos.”
Link to Ghost stories of Hatley Castle