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Sunday, January 08, 2017

Craigdarroch Castle



 In the late 19th century, Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant to Canada who became wealthy via Vancouver Island coal, built an impressive mansion on a hill overlooking the ocean in Victoria. Today, Craigdarroch Castle offers a glimpse into life as it was in a colonial outpost during the Victorian era. 


We visited the house shortly before Christmas to hear a presentation of Dickens' A Christmas Carol, done by a single actor. We toured the house before and after the performance.


The rooms were elaborately decorated for Christmas, particularly the fireplace mantels. 


I particularly enjoyed the dining room with the linens, crystal and silverware. I asked the guide about the china pattern, and was told it was earthenware. 


The blue and white pattern is very pretty with its gold trim. I also learned that leaning over too far to snap a photo will trigger an alarm. Oops. 


These sweet teddy bears in a daughter's bedroom caught my eye. I can just imagine a little girl placing them carefully together to keep company while she was off doing other things.

Sadly, the house passed out of the family about 20 years after it was built, serving as a military hospital, a college and a music conservatory before becoming the property of the city of Victoria and restored as a museum. 

It's an interesting glimpse into the life of an entrepreneur who had the wealth to create something of the Old Country here in the New World. High society was alive and well in the colonies. 

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Maggie of Normandy Life.  

30 comments:

  1. Looks so elegant & festive - have a lovely week!

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  2. The castle looks beautiful and obviously has a fascinating history, it must have looked wonderful in all it's seasonal finery. Listening to an actor recounting A Christmas Carol sounds like an excellent way to get into the Christmas spirit.
    Happy Mosaic Monday!

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  3. What a great insight you gave us to the Castle, I loved all the festive décor a real delight to see.

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  4. Such beautiful photos of a captivating building! Did you like the presentation of "A Christmas Carol"? The idea (done by a single actor) sounds interesting.
    Wishing you warmer weather and a happy week ahead!

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  5. I bet this was a real treat at Christmas. Reminds me of some of the lovely historical homes on Galveston Island ... one owned in the past by a railroad magnate and then by the catholic diocese ... now part of the historical foundation. Lovely post.

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  6. Thank you for this interesting post. The interior looks opulent and must have been really splendid when first built. Beautiful table setting!
    Wishing you a happy and peaceful 2017.
    Ruby

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  7. Though I can appreciate it's beauty and the craftsmanship of each artist/creator of the components displayed... I wonder what the local coalminers' cottages would have looked like during this period. Would they have had such an elaborate table setting? Would they have had any extra funds at all? We keep on glorifying singular individuals as icons of the time... but remember all those (suspecting they were the majority)who created all this wealth. Who in the face of hardships tried to live a dignified life with their families.

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  8. Wonderful that the house has been preserved. I can imagine that it looked stunning with Christmas decorations.

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  9. WOW! Looks wonderful:)

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  10. I love seeing everything all set up for the festivities,

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  11. I love touring houses like this!

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  12. I bet you jumped when you triggered the alarm! Those massive homes were so hard to maintain.

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  13. What a wonderful place to see 'A Christmas Carol'. I can just imagine it there. Such a warm and welcoming looking house :) B x

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  14. That would be me leaning over to take a photo of the table. It does look pretty. The Victorian period was so ornate. Lots of interesting things to look at.

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  15. The staircase and all the beautiful wood in this castle was so beautiful to see in person. Your photos are lovely and took me back to our visit there.

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  16. Those streamers from the light to the table edges...I am taking note!

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  17. So beautiful Lorrie. But can you imagine owing that home and having to clean it? Yikes!

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  18. So beautiful! I'm sure you enjoyed your time there. Oh and those bears on the bed...so sweet (I have a weakness for teddy bears 😊).

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  19. I love to visit history in this fascinating way -- and your post makes me feel as if I were along on the tour. A perfect place to hear a performance of 'Christmas Carol' too -- what a great Holiday treat.

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  20. The two teddy bears tugged at my heart! What a beautiful home and interesting place to visit to hear the Christmas Carol recited.

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  21. Lorrie, I loved this visit to the castle. The performance must have been special. Love the blue and white dishes and the teddies are so cute. Thanks for sharing. Sylvia D.

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  22. This sounds like wonderful fun, the visit, the performance, the holiday atmosphere. Good for you.
    Amalia
    xo

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  23. Dearest Lorrie; Wow, How GORGEOUS Craigdarroch Castle is from the Christmas season♡♡♡ I truly enjoyed all the Western Style atmosphere from the castle. You might think funny but he stand for the book (maybe)is one of the item makes me feel western world :-)

    Wishing your year 2017is the Happy and Bright one!
    Sending Lots of Love and Hugs from Japan to my Dear friend, xoxo Miyako*

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  24. Such a beautiful place...makes me miss Downton all the more! I would die to have that white chenille bedspread too :)

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  25. I have visited this home when we were in Victoria years ago. I just loved all the wood paneling and stained glass windows. It would be a real treat to visit it during the Christmas season. The china is so pretty and a bit different than what you normally see. I hope the alarm wasn't too embarrassing! We're deep in a blizzard today, so enjoy your warm coastal weather ;)
    Wendy

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  26. A beautiful old home and I'm glad it was restored and is now open to the public. Thanks for sharing Lorrie.

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  27. So glad the house was restored bringing back the elegance of a bygone era.

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  28. How lovely! I cracked up when I read how you accidentally triggered the alarm. Who knew that china would have such high-tech alarms?

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  29. What a beautiful place to visit! I love the teddy bears together, they look like good friends don't they. The alarm thing made me laugh, we get that a lot at work too when people don't intend to do anything and accidently wave an arm or lean over to look, it gives them a fright, but don't worry because the people there will be used to it!

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  30. Oh I would love visiting the castle at Christmas, very pretty. I have been there another time, but the decorations just make it all the more beautiful.

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