1908 Hatley Castle in Victoria, British Columbia

1908 Hatley Castle in Victoria, British Columbia

2005 Sooke Road, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada, V9B 5Y2

Designed by prominent architect Samuel Maclure and completed in 1910, Hatley Castle is an impressive 50,000 square foot residence about 20 minutes outside downtown Victoria, British Columbia. On our recent trip to Victoria, we made sure to visit both Craigdarroch Castle as well as Hatley Castle! Coal baron Robert Dunsmuir built Craigdarroch Castle for his family in 1890, while Dunsmuir’s son and British Columbia’s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir, commissioned Hatley Castle a short distance away in 1908. Hatley Castle: “In just 18 months, the results of Maclure’s dedicated work was a 200’x86’x82’ masterpiece featuring a Norman tower with two Tudor‐revival wings on either side. On May 1st, 1910 the Dunsmuirs officially moved in to Hatley Castle, then the largest private residence on the west coast.”

Wikipedia: “In 1908, B.C.’s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir, who was of Scottish descent, purchased the property. He and his wife Laura commissioned the renowned Canadian architect Samuel Maclure to build a 40-room mansion in the Scottish baronial style; the Tudor revival style was popular in the Edwardian period. The Dunsmuirs created many beautiful formal gardens using the services of renowned American garden designers Franklin Brett and George D. Hall of Boston, Massachusetts. The Dunsmuirs named their estate “Hatley Park”, in the tradition of British and European private estates. In 1912, the Dunsmuirs engaged the American landscape architects Franklin Brett and George D. Hall of Boston, students of Frederick Law Olmsted, to develop a landscape for the entire site. They prepared a classic design for an Edwardian park that included the overall layout for the entire property. The plan organized the estate into four distinct landscape zones, progressing from a series of nine formal ‘garden rooms’ near Hatley Castle, to recreational spaces, then to agricultural lands, and finally to the forest surrounding the estate. During the Dunsmuir era, approximately 100 gardeners and groundskeepers tended the estate.”


Wikipedia: “The castle became a landmark and was occupied by descendants of the Dunsmuir family until the last years of the Great Depression. Following the death of Laura Dunsmuir in 1937 the estate was sold to the Government of Canada in 1939. The government sold off some of the land and during five days in June 1939, “Maynard & Sons” conducted a public auction of the mansion’s contents totaling 927 lots. At the outbreak of World War II, contingency plans were made for King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, and their two daughters, princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to reside in Canada in the event of an invasion of Britain. The family’s primary options were stately homes in England, but Victoria, B.C. was the backup site in case German troops reached the Midlands. The federal Crown-in-Council purchased Hatley Castle in 1940 for use as the King’s royal residence. The Royal Family and government decided against their leaving the UK during the war, and the family stayed in London.”

Wikipedia: “The Canadian government adapted the mansion as a naval training facility. From 1948 it was known as the Royal Roads Military College. It is named for the Royal Roads body of water, which forms the entrance into Esquimalt Harbour from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, lying to the east of the facility. The military college was closed in 1995 and the estate leased to the Province of British Columbia. That same year, the castle and grounds were designated a National Historic Site of Canada. In September 1995, Royal Roads University was opened as a public, degree-granting university. It leases the campus from the Department of National Defence for $1 per year. The university manages all stewardship responsibilities related to the site, including site management, operations, heritage preservation and restoration, and educating the public about the site’s history and natural resources.”

Hatley Castle is always very popular in the film industry! Here is a list of film & television shows that shot on location: Smallville, Spider-Man Trilogy, X-Men, MacGyver, Arrow, Witches of East End, The Killing, Descendants (1-3), The Dead Zone, Bones, The Amazing Race Canada 6 and Supernatural.