Victoria City Tour
Craigdarroch Castle – 1050 Joan Crescent
Here is a map showing the location of Craigdarroch Castle:
Here is a Google Street View image of Craigdarroch castle, as seen from Joan Crescent:
Additional Information About Craigdarroch Castle
A Brief History of Craigdarroch Castle
Robert Dunsmuir (1925-1889) was a self made coal baron who made his fortune in developing Vancouver Island coal mines, particularly in the area around Nanaimo.
About 1882, Robert Dunsmuir began acquiring land for his castle. By 1887 he owned the lot on which Craigdarroch Castle now stands along with about 28 acres around the site.
Robert Dunsmuir died in April 1889 so he didn’t live to see Craigdarroch Castle completed. Robert Dunsmuir left his entire estate, including Craigdarroch castle, to his wife Joan Dunsmuir, who lived in Craigdarroch Castle until her death in 1908.
In May 1909, the executors of Joan Dunsmuir’s estate held a public auction of Craigdarroch Castle’s contents. In June 1909, Joan Dunsmuir’s estate sold Craigdarroch Castle, and the 28 acres of land it stood on, to Joan Dunsmuir’s accountant, Griffith Hughes, who promptly subdivided most of the surrounding 28 acres into building lots, creating the Craigdarroch subdivision.
The subdivided lots sold quickly but since nobody was willing to buy the Castle, Griffith Hughes came up a novel way of disposing of it: he organized a raffle with Craigdarroch Castle as the main prize.
The winners of the raffle were Solomon Cameron and Parker Clarke. Solomon Cameron retained ownership of Craigdarroch Castle until 1918, when the Bank of Montreal foreclosed over Solomon Cameron’s unpaid mortgage on the Castle.
In 1919, the Bank of Montreal leased Craigdarroch Castle to the federal government, which used it as a military hospital for soldiers recovering from First World War wounds and injuries.
When the military hospital closed in 1921, the Bank of Montreal leased the Castle to Victoria College which occupied the Castle until 1946, when it moved to what is now the Lansdowne campus of Camosun College.
In 1929, the Bank of Montreal sold Craigdarroch Castle to the Victoria School Board. When Victoria College moved in 1946, the Victoria School Board took over Craigdarroch Castle as its main offices.
In 1959 the Victoria School Board rented Craigdarroch Castle to two tenants: the Victoria Conservatory of Music and the newly formed Craigdarroch Castle Preservation Society.
In 1979, the Victoria Conservatory of Music moved to a larger premises, leaving the Craigdarroch Castle Preservation Society (now the Craigdarroch Historical Museum Society) as the sole occupant.
In 1994 the City of Victoria transferred Craigdarroch Castle to the Craigdarroch Historical Museum Society for $1.00.
Here are links to some historic photographs of Craigdarroch Castle:
- City of Victoria Archives photo M06503 – 1889
- City of Victoria Archives photo M07180 – 1889
- City of Victoria Archives photo M00527 – circa 1890
- City of Victoria Archives photo M00124 – circa 1899. Photographer: Francis Rattenbury
- City of Victoria Archives photo M09954 – circa 1901
- City of Victoria Archives photo M08610 – 1909
- City of Victoria Archives photo M06716 – circa 1909
- City of Victoria Archives photo M08611 – 1909
- City of Victoria Archives photo M00856 – circa 1928. Photographer: Harry Upperton Knight
- City of Victoria Archives photo M07182 – circa 1946
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02576 – 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02578 – interior 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02582 – 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02584 – interior 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02583 – 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02572 – interior 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02573 – interior 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02566 – interior 1956
- City of Victoria Archives photo M05883 – 1959
- City of Victoria Archives photo M02527 – circa 1969
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