on November 13, 2008
I had one destination in mind that I just had to visit while I was in Victoria. I wasn’t quite sure how we were going to get there but I was bound and determined to visit the 50,000 square foot Hatley Castle that was used in the X-Men Movies and on Smallville. We arrived by city bus a few blocks from the Castle and walked the rest of the way; luckily it was a gorgeous sunny fall day. The Castle is located on the same grounds as Royal Roads University. The long road down to the castle is paved and has sidewalks. We passed by the University area and then gazed upon the massive gothic castle that overlooks the Esquimalt Lagoon; it was really quite a breathtaking view to behold. After looking around at the outside of the Castle we wandered into the museum to find out when the next tour would be and to pay our admission fee. We were fortunate enough to only have to wait a few minutes before the next tour. Finally getting to see the inside of the mansion was incredible. The hallways seemed to go on forever and the rooms downstairs were very impressive and elaborate. It was fun to look at the craftsmanship in the flooring and in the woodwork throughout this Castle; it was just such a beautiful place. Another fun thing for me was to see all of the fireplaces, almost every room had a fireplace and each one was different. This massive home was completed in 1908 for James Dunsmuir and his wife Laura. The castle itself is 200 feet long and 86 feet wide and rises 82 feet high. The Dunsmuir’s created beautiful gardens on their property and then had it named Hatley Park. The Husband and Wife lived at the castle till their dying day and then in 1940 three years after Laura’s death, it was bought and used for the Royal Naval Canadian College. In 1995 it switched hands again and this time to the Royal Woods University. Hatley Park is a very serene and beautiful place to visit. The park admission is included with the tour of the castle or it can be bought separately. There are three main gardens: the Italian Gardens, Japanese Gardens and the Woodland Gardens, each being a beautiful discovery along our stroll down towards the water. We were pleasantly surprised to see several peacocks and squirrels along the way. I would definitely recommend seeing the grounds even though it can be quite a walk. I have to say that our visit to Hatley Castle was the favorite part of my trip to Victoria. It may not have been the most elaborate castle that I saw on this trip but it was definitely the largest and the grounds were breathtaking. For a visitor’s attraction that was barely mentioned in any brochures that I ever saw, it was definitely worth seeing.
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