Hatley Castle

Hatley Castle is a splendid edifice that serves as the centerpiece of the Hatley Park National Historic Site. This site, which is found on Vancouver Island, also features lovely gardens and nature trails and evokes the feel of a large European estate. In fact, between the castle and the estate, Hatley Park visitors might feel as if they've been transported to the UK.

In 1908, Hatley Castle was finished. James Dunsmuir, who was the son of a coal magnate from Scotland, spared no expense when building his estate; adjusted to today’s prices, it cost around $40 million to build. The Canadian architect, Samuel Maclure, was well respected, and it's not hard to understand why when you lay eyes on Hatley Castle. The stone structure has both Norman and Tudor influences, and it is all complemented by lovely Edwardian gardens. Inside, glorious paneling and magnificent wood floors await, hinting at the former owner's wealth. Dunsmuir's father, coincidentally, built the also amazing Craigdarroch Castle prior to the building of Hatley Castle. This castle is also found on Vancouver Island.

After selling all of his business interests in 1910, James Dunsmuir retired to his beloved Hatley Castle. A more impressive estate to retire on would be hard to imagine. Situated approximately 25 minutes from Victoria at 200 Sooke Road, the Hatley Park estate enjoys a waterfront location on Esquimalt Bay. The bay waters give way to the Straits of Juan de Fuca, and it is also possible to see Washington State's beautiful Olympic Mountains. The views alone are reason enough to visit Hatley Park Victoria BC, and it just gets better when you consider everything else.

While all the Hatley Castle furniture was sold, there is a lot to admire while taking a tour of the structure's interior. When exploring the surrounding estate, you might make an extra effort to stroll through the Japanese Gardens. These were designed by the renowned Japanese architect Isaburo Kishida close to 100 years ago. Kishida, it should be mentioned, also designed the beautiful Japanese Gardens that can be found at Butchart Gardens.

Today, Hatley Castle and the surrounding estate are owned by the Royal Roads University. The university operates a museum that offers insight into the complete story of the site, and visitors can also consider enjoying a guided tour of the castle and gardens that lasts about an hour. The Hatley Park Museum is open daily. The hours vary, so it can be a good idea to check in advance when planning a visit. Generally speaking, at least one hour is recommended if you want to take it all in, though you might just need two hours or more. Admission fees apply.

Thanks to the beauty of the castle and the surrounding estate, Hatley Castle weddings are something that couples will want to consider when looking to tie the knot in British Columbia. Various wedding packages are available, and they can include all kinds of things, including accommodations and catering.

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