When Craigdorrach Castle was first built in the late 1800s it was isolated high on a hill on many acres overlooking the village of Victoria. Since that time, the surrounding area has grown and the castle now stands in the middle of a residential area with large upper class homes on all sides. Some of the lands have been donated and contain a military base.
Craigdorrach Castle was built by a wealthy timber barron, Mr. Dunsmuir, as fulfillment of a promise made to his wife that when they made their fortune on Vancouver Island, he'd build her a castle, which is what he did.
The builder, himself, never lived in the completed home, but his wife and many generations of children and grandchildren have enjoyed living there until it was donated as a historical property.
The most striking feature of the large castle/home is the beautiful stained glass windows and woodworking found in every room of the house. The grand staircase seen upon entry is magnificent with beautiful woods used on treads, banisters, walls, and ceilings.
Each of the rooms has a character of its own with the parlor/sitting room's painted walls and high ceilings and the recreation room and its oversized, 12 foot pool table being especially notable. Stained glass windows on each floors stair landing are gorgeous. Off the stair landing on the upper floor is a glassed octagonal turret room, which would have made a perfect place for the children's imagination to transport them to a pirate ship or European castle. There is a view of the entire inner harbor area from this vantage point.
Upon exiting you are led through the obligatory gift shop to pick up any souvenirs you might desire. It does not take long to tour the castle, it's a self-guided tour, about an hour.
The Grey Line tour bus, buses 10, 11, and 14, has it perfectly timed from drop off to pick up about two blocks down the hill, so your wait is minimal. It was an enjoyable tour.