Hello, my friends! I hope you all had a lovely weekend. Ready to share some fun?
That's just a teaser for our visit to Craigdarroch Castle! Grab yourself a cup of tea, and settle in, 'cause we have lots of pictures.
Let's start with Saturday - L and I strolled down to Pluto's Diner to meet up with Casey and Nick for brunch.
It poured rain, and generally felt very autumnal. Time to wear one of my summer-y sweaters!
- Sweater - Rodier, vintage 50s, vintage fair; last worn here in January with black and blue
- Skirt - Vanessa Virginia, thrifted; first seen here in July with these very shoes
- Shoes - Prepare Guide, Fluevog; last worn here with this same skirt in July, and Flashback-ed there too
- Leather coat (below) - Danier Leather; last seen here in May
This lovely sweater is one that I keep out all year round - it's just a useful shape and colour.
The colours in the skirt just don't photograph well - please trust me, I'm the Queen of Matchy-Town!
Masked up - one of my new ones from Mom, it is teal snakeskin print.
Outerwear - more colour!
If it's going to rain, I'll provide the rainbow!
I'm fully ready to go now, walkin' out the door.
L and I ran a couple of errands in town afterwards. This was all fine in the rain, including my leather coat - the weather ranged from a heavy mist to tropical downpour. This is what we get for living in a temperate rainforest climate.
One last - 51st! - wearing of these awesome shoes before I pack them away for winter. Yes, I wore them in the rain - I expect my shoes to perform! I also walked about 3 kilometers in them total.
I love that necklace - L has such good taste. It was a Christmas present, I believe.
- Necklace - Robert Larin, vintage 60s, vintage mall, gift from L
- Earrings - consignment
- Silver/gold/turquoise ring - Karen's
- Fulvia Ring - Wendy Brandes
- Silver/turquoise ring - local
After an awesome evening of board games and music, I was up early to get ready for our Book Club Castle Adventure!
Still sneaking in not-yet-worn items - this sequined skirt makes its first appearance of the season. Going to the Castle deserved sequins.
- Blouse - Rock & Republic, thrifted; last worn here in April with a sunny tweed
- Skirt - Banana Republic, consignment; last seen here in December 2019 with green velvet and gold sparkles
- Boots - Matisse, consignment; last worn here in June with leopard
Another wearing of this neon green blouse. I have a nude cami under it for coverage.
The sequin skirt is so fun - several times, the sun hit me, and I sparkled.
I left the back untucked.
Masked up - I chose this autumn scene mask from Mom.
It was so lovely out, I didn't need a coat.
I've got my keys, got my purse, I've got our tickets, and I'm really to go!
I was tempted to do a Flashback on these boots, but this is a big enough post! They stay out all year 'round, so I'll do it another time.
I liked how well my neon leather purse went with everything.
- Purse - Club Monaco, thrifted
- Snake bracelet - Whiting & Davis, vintage 70s, vintage fair
- Snake necklace - vintage 70s, vintage expo
- Snake earrings - Betsey Johnson, gift from L
- Glass bangle - thrifted
- Hinged enamel bangles - thrifted
- Jade/brass ring - vintage 70s, Mom's
- Silver poison ring - Karen's
Karen was with us!
Carolyn had other commitments, and Janaki's son unfortunately was ill, so she wasn't able to make it at the last minute. Sending good vibes to wee Vishi!
I quickly gobbled a light breakfast and dashed up to the Castle. Main site link here
- all links because I love.
If you're interested in digging into more history of any of the rooms, there's a Virtual Tour (here
), and I'll identify where we are in the tour via pop-up links (there are also points-of-interest links within those to explore).
Our group outside the Garden Entrance (using my camera timer to get us all): me, Mindy, Cat and Yvonne.
Cat and Mindy arrived first. Mindy, love the snakeskin printed leather jacket! That's a gorgeous pleated skirt too!
Cat is looking sweet in her blue florals, including a funky pair of Fluevog boots. She made the matching mask, of course.
Yvonne joins us, also wearing her Fluevogs. We're all so spiffy!
We were surprised at how busy it was - there were multiple tour groups going through while we were in the Castle, both facilitated (with a tour guide) and just walking through.
The Castle was built by coal baron Robert Dunsmuir who died before he could live in it - it was inhabited by his wife Joan, and their children. We started in the Porte-Cochere entrance, where you must use the brush cleaner on your shoes.
Yvonne is giving her 'Vogs a brush - it's automated and mandatory. That's our tour guide on the left, in the striped sweater. She was awesome.
Yvonne in the Main Hall beside the central staircase, which goes all the way up to the Tower Room.
Opposite where she's standing is the Main Hall fireplace (click here
There were lots of staff and volunteers (like this young lady), keeping an eye on us "tourists".
Mindy in the Library (link here
The stained glass was beautiful, and much of it is original to the Castle.
The Castle was completed in 1890, and was wired for electric lighting, had full radiators (including this round one below), hot and cold running water, speaking tubes, a system of bells for the servants, and a dumbwaiter and a laundry chute.
Isn't that lampshade a beauty?
This is the Drawing Room (link here
). I first remember coming to the Castle when I was in my early teens, as some girls in my Humanities took the rest of the class on a field trip tour here.
None of the Castle was restored like this then - restoration has been ongoing for decades. It took 12 years alone for the painted ceilings in this room to be recovered, under five layers of house paint!
Looking the other direction in the Drawing Room - you can see more of that amazing ceiling here.
The last time I visited the Castle was in December 1997 - L and I, with Nick and Karen. It was a private party, (we got the tickets through Karen's brother and didn't know anyone there), and the group had rented out the entire Castle, complete with catering, dancing (old-timey folk dancing), and a bagpiper, and everything was decked out for Christmas.
Still on the main floor, we entered into the massive Dining Room (link here
And the huge room!
We had 8 people in our tour, and we all kept our distance and wore masks (mandatory).
They filmed the 1994 version of Little Women
(the one with Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon) here (link here
to a fun oral history from the cast), and this scorch mark is from a candle on the set.
Gorgeous parquet floors, but I love that they preserved this part of the Castle's history.
Looking straight up from inside the Main Hall again.
Up we go to the second floor!
The Castle was used as a military hospital post-WW I (kicking off Canada's government-supported medical system).
I'm just off the second floor Main Hall (link here
), and you can see the old linoleum, and where a support wall used to be. Some of the non-original parts are being left to acknowledge all the roles that the Castle has played in the last 100+ years.
There are a couple of rooms you can check out that I didn't photograph (link here
to the Sitting Room; link here
to Maud's Bedroom). I took pictures of things that interested me, like...
...this amazing wreath made from hair. Oh, you crazy Victorians, crafting from human hair!
This is Jessie's Bedroom, one of the Dunsmuir's daughters.
There were many rooms - even though it's a small building, it seemed very big inside.
A view looking out the window on the 2nd floor, to the northwest.
Neighbourhood houses butt right up to the Castle grounds.
After the Castle was a hospital, it became Victoria College (before we had the University of Victoria). My grandfather attended there, so I was hoping to find his initials somewhere.
The tour guide pointed out all the places where students had carved their names - these are also being preserved. No sign of Grandad, but I see Chig Bostock was here in 41-42. I also see Ross, D.O.V. Oliver and Sandy Thomson.
After it was Victoria College, the Castle housed the Victoria Conservatory of Music.
A lovely fireplace, and a plaque showing students from the Conservatory practicing in front of it. Imagine the acoustics!
Mindy looking into the billiards area.
This telescope is in the alcove off the Billiards Room.
This is Effie's Bedroom (link here
). I love the bed inset into that alcove.
The pink paint is also a remnant from Little Women
's film production.
I was quite taken with this room. If I lived in the Castle, this would be my room.
My pictures were dark of Robert Harvey's bedroom (link here
Looking down from the 3rd floor towards the edge of town.
I see the local junior high - my mom and dad went to school there.
Time to go to the 4th floor! Looking down from the third floor.
Woo, that makes me dizzy!
A view of the back lawn
On the fourth floor is the Dance Hall (link here
). This is where we danced in 1997.
A display of dance cards from some of the balls that were held here.
Those fans are so pretty!
I'm going up to the Tower now! This is technically the 5th floor (at one time, Craidarroch Castle was the tallest point in all of Victoria).
Looking back down - I see Yvonne looking at the fan display. On the right is open area with displays about the history.
Looking up the steps leading to the Tower (link here
That stained glass window is the symbol used for the Castle everywhere.
The floor tiles are by Minton, imported from England.
Looking up also made me dizzy.
But the view is what I was interested in.
I see my house!
That's my stair picture spot!
Cat came in while I was looking out the window.
More views from the Tower. That dark thing is the window latch.
Hey, Cat, I can see your house too!
Looking north. That's a fly on the window.
Looking southwest, towards town.
The blue hills in the distance are Sooke.
The roof is slate and terra cotta.
Looking east, over Fairfield.
That tall white building is the Rockland Water Tower - it used to have a neon candle on top for Victoria's Centennial (picture here
, from the Archives, and the story of it here
). I remember the Candle from when I was a kid!
Looking down to the entryway.
And looking down...all the way...
You can see one of the taped arrows - we went up one side of the Castle, then came down the other side, to see the servants' area and the kitchen.
Going down the stairs, which were added to update the Castle to modern safety codes.
There's a tiny room at the bottom, under the stairs, that they call the New Staircase Room.
|Click to embiggen|
This room was called Ward 9 in the Victoria College days - the last paragraph refers to Ward 2, "mostly composed of - I guess you'd call them nerds today - the people who played chess and did a lot of reading and stuff.
" I think that my grandad probably hung out there - he was not one of the "bunch of yahoos. Mostly Rugby players and such...they were all smokers...it was the thing to do at that time...
The restored bathroom, with the tub and toilet done based on historical trends of the time.
I'm dying over that robe!
The other side of the snazzy bathroom.
Granite counters, very classy.
This room is formerly Lizzie's Bedroom, but now contains history of the military years.
I really like that they are leaving some parts without fully restoring them.
Another glimpse down at the lawn.
You can almost see the ocean from here, looking south. The hazy blue mountains in the distance are in Washington State, in the USA.
This is one of the Servant's Bedrooms (link here
Check out this awesome sewing machine.
I love the little bear thimble-holder and the figures on top of the thread-holders.
Looking down to the main entry.
Mindy and the tour guide and the dumbwaiter in between.
Mindy has a dumbwaiter in her house, so you know, things in common.
Back down to the 2nd floor, this is Maud's Bedroom (link here
I love the colour of this room.
And I approve of Maud's big bookcase.
Not to mention her excellent jewelry box.
One of the servant's rooms, now containing more history about Victoria College - I checked all the pictures for Grandad, but Mom has told me he skipped photo day.
I love that wooden model.
I didn't see this board of carved names, but there's a famous signature in this picture of it.
Pierre Berton (link here
)! I loved his kids' book The Secret World of Og
I laughed at this article from 1975 for "It's Dreadful, You're Invited" from when the Castle housed the Victoria Conservatory of Music (which I remember being here).
I think we need to have more "awful, tasteless
This year's event will be "shorter and, if possible, even badder and worser
|Click to embiggen|
I love the idea of a Bad Music Concert.
Back down the hall to the main floor again.
A peek into the Smoking Room (link here
). The stained glass depicts Sir Walter Raleigh, who popularized tobacco in England.
The guide pointed out that there are two little drawers built into the fireplace, so that you could warm your brandy.
And this is the Breakfast Room (link here
We exited here, which used to be the Gift Shop before it got its own outbuilding.
This room will eventually be restored to look similar to other manor house kitchens of the era (link here
Did someone say "gift shop"? Of course, we had to go in!
In addition to a couple of early Christmas gifts (woo! go, me!), I also bought myself some "Victoria Fog" tea, all locally grown.
And a keychain with a collapsible straw and cleaner. Very cool.
And here we are, all showing off our purchases.
Ladies, that was so much fun!
Thank you all for doing this - Carolyn and Janaki, we missed you both, but we'll see you soon.
And readers, I hope you enjoyed our adventure as much as we did! I would definitely recommend a visit to the Castle, whether you're a tourist or a tourist in your own town.
And now, my friends, I am off to enjoy what's left of my weekend! Thank you for coming by!