Hatley Castle is a living museum of Victoria's history as well as a scenic showcase of Vancouver Island's landscape. It was built in 1906 as the residence of British Columbia's wealthy Lieutenant Governor James Dunsmuir and his family. Built on the verdant hillsides of Vancouver Island overlooking the straight and the Olympic Mountains, the grandiose 40-room mansion embodied the architectural style of Scottish barons during the time period, which was the reign of King Edward VII in England. The Dunsmuirs were a Scottish-Canadian family that made a fortune in coal mining and became influential in the politics of British Columbia.
Hatley Castle is a testament to the Dunsmuir legacy and to upper-echelon lifestyles of the period. More importantly, however, it has turned into an exhibition of the region's rich history, while still remaining functional. It was sold the Government of Canada in 1939 and has been used as a university building ever since, first by Royal Roads Military College and now by Royal Roads University.
Because classes and administration are conducted daily in the Castle, public access is by guided tour only. On the 1-hour tour you can experience the preserved character of the historic mansion and take in the surrounding views. You can also stroll in the lush, manicured gardens that show off native and exotic ornamental plants in impressive fashion.
Hatley Castle makes a great afternoon outing for those interested in architecture or history and for any families seeking a tranquil afternoon activity in the Victoria area.