224 Superior Street|
Victoria, BC, V8V 1T3
1050 Joan Crescent
This 39 room Castle is a historic, Victorian-era Scottish Baronial mansion and is a Canadian National Historic Site. At over 25,000 square feet (2,300 m2), it’s 4 times bigger than Albion Manor. It cost, apparently, about $500,000 which, when it was constructed in the late 1800s was a fortune. Albion Manor cost $3,500. It was built as the family residence of wealthy coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and his wife Joan. Robert died 10 months before construction on the castle was completed. His sons Alexander and James took over the role of finishing the castle after his death. The family history is a labyrinth of intrigue, ill-will, corruption and deceit.
Walking through the grand rooms, it is hard not to be impressed by its stature. Craigdarroch is a stunning example of Victorian architecture. It’s full with exquisite stained-glass windows, amazing woodwork (especially in the entry hall) and antiques. You can climb the grand oak staircase to the Tower (if you can manage the 87 steps up) for the best views in Victoria.
However, it is equally as hard to not reflect on how different Dunsmuir’s life was from the struggling existence of his employees. Those working in his mines lived in squalid conditions and struggled daily in unsafe and unsanitary conditions. Robert Dunsmuir was not a nice man. He was horrible to the workers in his mines, forcing them to live in miserable conditions. Over time, approximately 1 miner dies very month in his mines. When they threatened to go on strike for better working and living conditions, he locked them out not only from their work, but from their company homes as well. This just as winter was approaching. He then used his influence with the government to call in the army.
Our friend Victor used to work as a guide at the Castle. In order to prepare himself for giving tours, he did a lot of research on Robert Dunsmuir and the family. He used to tell guests what he had discovered, the real story of Robert Dunsmuir. One day, one of the supervisors at the Castle overheard Victor telling this story to a tour group. He was asked to leave and was never allowed to return!
Sometimes, the truth can be very uncomfortable. To me, the castle exists as a monument not to the ‘rich, powerful and nasty’ man who built it, but to the miners who died so he could build it.
Women represent the truimph of matter over mind,
We want your stay at
Albion Manor B&B
to be the crowning touch to your visit to Victoria BC, Canada.
We'll do everything we can to ensure that it is!