Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Mom-Day Adventure: Royal Roads/Hatley Castle

My work-hours are changing in a couple of weeks, and I'll no longer have my Tuesdays off. This makes the final two Mom-Day Adventures all the more special. Mom and I saved one of the best for last: today we visited Royal Roads and Hatley Castle.
I'm on a bridge! 

Royal Roads University's grounds are called Hatley Gardens (link here, 'cause I love), which contains Hatley Castle, built by another one of the Dunsmuirs (my local castle, Craigdarroch Castle, was built by Robert Dunsmuir, link here to the time we toured it for Book Club). About Hatley Castle here and here and if it seems familiar to you, it's because it's been filmed in many movies over the years (check 'em out here). 

I had to dress up for both Mom and for Kaitlyn, my new hairdresser who I met for the first time at my late-afternoon appointment, plus I hadn't gotten in a wearing of this shoulder-season dress yet.

The weather's very changeable right now, so I had many layers on, and was prepared for fluctuations. 

  • Coat - Baez Leather, consignment; last worn here in May with Halston and Boss Pants
  • Dress - Kenzo, consignment; last seen here (3rd outfit) for Book Club in July 2020
  • Boots - Aldo, consignment; last worn here in March for Kezzie's birthday (my Dr. Who outfit)

This lovely dress is by the late Kenzo Takada, one of my favourite designers, who died last year of COVID (obituary here, link 'cause I love).
It's a gauzy cotton fabric, and is fully lined. 

I wore my jacket, just in case it got chilly.
Showing the ginormous peplum on it. 

Without the jacket.
I love all the tucks and folds in this dress. 

It has always reminded me of a Cinderella dress from before her transformation, when she's sweeping ashes. 
The white lining is attached to the dress, including a built-in camisole at the top. 

I also wore a vintage slip underneath everything, mostly to keep the cotton lining from rucking up from tights friction. 
Comfy boots for walking. 

Shades on! It was sunny most of the day. 
Mom slept in a bit, so we had a later start than usual. 

I'm fine with that - I enjoy a leisurely morning while I fully wake up.
Gloves and purse added. I like wearing gloves, and am always happy when we get back to glove season. 

Fully locked and loaded! 
The jacket does up cross-body, like a motorcycle jacket - it's a titch snug, but I don't mind. 

  • Mask - by Mom

Mask mandates are still in effect, and we happily flashed our vax cards when asked to do so. 

A matchy grey purse and my cool studded leather gloves. I did not need the gloves at all. 

  • Purse - Rebecca Minkoff Mini Mac, thrifted
  • Gloves - Danier Leather

The stuff: 
These boots are fantastic. Comfy, and also awesome looking. Eee, all those studs make me happy. I couldn't be bothered to take them off for a picture, only to put them on again to walk to my hair appointment and back. 

Minimal bling: 
I didn't want a necklace or bracelets fighting with the jacket, so just a few favourites. 

  • Belt - Fendi, thrifted; last worn here in July for the Winesday Pool Party
  • Earrings/rings - Glee
  • Silver/onyx ring - Toccara, vintage fair
  • Hematite ring - thrifted

Okay, are y'all ready? Here come lots of pictures! 
First up, Mom, looking fabulous in her emerald green top. She's wearing a vintage 1966 green iridescent crystal necklace that her Aunt Lil gave her for her 21st birthday (the year before I was born!). 

We drove the Old Island Highway and through Royal Roads to the car-park. Looking up at the Castle grounds.  
That's where we're headed. 

Look at this gorgeous sky! 
That's what's behind us - we are looking south. 

That's the Juan de Fuca Strait (which leads to the Pacific Ocean). 
The mountains in the far distance are the Olympic range in Washington State, USA. 

We strolled up the incline, following the path. 
The area is covered with paths, close to 5 kilometers of them. 

Also, Canada Geese. 
They are pretty, but they are nasty birds that poop a lot. 

The trees are just starting to change. 
Again, enjoy my obsession with massive trees. 

That one has a big boll on it. 
I had not been out here in at least 30 years. 

Prior to being Royal Roads University, it was Royal Roads Military College. 
Imagine going to university here! This is Hatley Castle, which is the Administration. 

Pretty sweet. 

I went up the stairs and looked around, while Mom stayed on the path. 
I see you! 

Some sort of private function was being set up. 
I liked all the downspouts.
They have little flowers and leaves and garlands on them! 
As you might suspect, the castle was built in 1908. 

Stained glass windows. 
I like that plaque - it took me a minute to figure out it also says "1908". 

Walking up to the entryway. 
I can just picture being driven here by horse with an open carriage for a party. 

This is the front door, under the port-cochere. 
The faces on either side of the door are James Dunsmuir and his wife Laura. 

A lovely formal garden in front of that. 
I don't know what the giant flowering plant is in the middle, but it had massive flowers. As always, you can click on any pic to embiggen it. 

There are lions on either side of the staircase leading up the hill opposite the entryway. 
Selfie with Mom and the cranky lion. Mom remembered having their Christmas picture taken in front of one of the lions with her brother and sister when she was a child in the 1950s. 

The Cranky Lion deserves his own picture. 
And I thought Vizzini had an outraged face. This fellow is positively sorry for himself. 

I went up the steps, and Mom stayed at the bottom. 
There were a few other people around, all taking loads of pictures. 

This is the building at the top of the stairs. 
This is the Grant building, which has classrooms, a café and offices.

Ah, an Official Plaque! 
I love these! 

What a view! 
I can see why the Dunsmuirs wanted to live here. 

What a swanky place! 
Unfortunately, the museum and gift shop (AW! I love gift shops!) were closed due to COVID (plus, we're in the off-season now for tourists). 

I loved this tucked-away corner. 

We strolled to the garden entrance. 
That woman is reading the sign telling us to keep the gate closed to keep deer out. 

We have now entered Hatley Gardens. 
Victoria loves its gardens. 

I got a kick out of this sign. 
Please stay one peacock apart. 

We walked to the Italian Garden. 
Link here
Of course, we had to walk through this logia. 
Most of the flowers are finished for the season. 
But there are still lots of fuchsias! 
I'm not usually a fan of more formal gardens, but this has a nice overgrown quality to it.  
And you have to admit, it's very pretty. 
Looking out over the crochet field. 

Looking back at the castle.
We're on the back right corner of it (if facing the front entry). 

Looking back at the area we just walked through. 
And back at the castle. 
Still lots of colour in the gardens. 

This dahlia was almost as big as my hand. 
I found two of the four statues. 
There is one for each season - they are original to the gardens. 

So much greenery. 
Oh, wait, a bunny! 
"He's pretty fat," said Mom, "He's been eating the plants."

Looking up at these Japanese maples as we head for the Japanese Garden (link here). 
How about some more big trees?
I liked that these two (originally three) cedar trees have actually grown into one organism. 

We could hear the gurlging of a rushing stream. 
Yup, it's a stream. 

I took a twisty, rockier path, and Mom took the smooth path. 
We walked for an hour and a half around the gardens. 

We found a water wheel! 

The stream split into two around this island. 
The giant gnarled tree is a rhododendron. These gardens are filled with them. 

Imagine the colours in the spring! 
The stream led out to the lake. 

The island in the middle symbolizes 10,000 years of longevity.
The two crane statues represent 1,000 years. The two Canada Geese symbolize poop! 

A humped bridge, and a house. 
The structural elements of this garden are original from 1910. 

I like this little hut off to the side of the path.
Perfect to sit and read a book. 

The pond was still. 
Dragonflies hummed around. 

I need to go there! 
We are in the Lower Japanese Garden now. 
I had to brush leaves off the sign before I took the picture. 

Hold the phone, there are peacocks! 
Off-season ladies (I checked Wikipedia!). We saw their two mates just as we were leaving the park. 

"Mom, take a picture of me on the bridge!"
My hair is now much shorter than that! I'll show you tomorrow. 

I loved how the light came through the trees. 
Ooh, we're at the viewing house! 
I was very taken with how the light bounced around on the ceiling, reflected from the lake. 
I also really like the shapes that the decorative trim makes. 

Oh, there's the stream again. 
Gurgle gurgle. 

Hummingbirds zipped around. 
I managed to catch this one while he was feasting in these flowers. 

This is...a fern?
It's so odd. 

Looking back at the Italian Garden. 
I just love the cloud patterns there. 

A thingy about Royal Roads Military College, which I remember. 
There were always Canadian Navy in the bars back in the 80s! 

Heading back down the hill to the car. 
That little strip of land mid-picture is a road crossing Esquimalt Lagoon. We're going to go there! 

I told Mom I took this picture purely for the reflection. 
I see you! 

We drove out to Esquimalt Lagoon - the part between the road (which has beach on the ocean side) and Royal Roads is a bird sanctuary (about Esquimalt Lagoon here).
Over the bridge to the spit. 

I can't believe what a beautiful day we had. 
We pulled in to look across the lagoon. 
Lots of seagulls, pigeons and Canada Geese. 

The boathouse is on the right, and the Indigenous Education & Student Services building is on the left.
Still a few cars in the parking lot where we were. 

And there's the castle through the trees. 
Wow, what a hidden gem. 

This is the beach side. 
There were lots of folks around here - it's nuts in the summer. 

Looking back at Victoria (we're in Colwood, another city nearby). 
The arrow on the right is pointing at Clover Point, where I go on my Mental Health Walks. 

This seagull was giving us the eye. 
Soon enough, there won't be many people out here. 

This is the entry to Esquimalt Harbour, where Canada's naval base is. 
The arrow on the right is the Fort Rodd Hill Lighthouse, a very cool place. The one on the left is a surprise appearance of Mt. Baker, way far away in Washington to the east. 

How lucky am I to live in this beautiful place? 

Mom and I stopped for a late lunch at the Four Mile Pub, so named because it is four miles from Mile Zero of the Trans-Canada Highway. 
It opened in 1858. 

It was gorgeous inside - all original timbers. 
We had a lovely lunch, and then Mom drove me home, where I edited pictures until it was time to go downtown for my haircut. 

Mom, this was a wonderful day. Thank you so much! 
Love you!


  1. That's a lovely outing with your mom! I love your coat and your mom looks great in that emerald top.

    1. Thank you so much, Lovely, glad you enjoyed it.

      Mom glows in green. Thanks - I love my leather coat.

  2. Magnificent pictures! Wonderful architecture, I'm certainly going to have to have a bit of a Google and and check out the history of those buildings.
    As ever I'm not well versed in the world of fashion but I vaguely remember a friend of mine bitterly complaining that there was not a decent slip to be found in the charity/thrift shops. I think wearing them as dresses was the done thing at the time.



    1. Thanks, Paul! Have fun with that.

      You don't see too many vintage slips around anymore - women stopped wearing them in the 90s, which was when they were frequently worn as clothing, more in a grungy way.

  3. Lovely post. I didn't realise Kenzo had died. When my daughter was 18 I took her to London and she bought a Kenzo top in Harvey Nichols. Your mum's top is as old as me and still looks fabulous. X

    1. Yeah, it was so sad, Jane. :( Oh how cool that your daughter had a piece of his.

      How do you know how old my mom's top is??

  4. What a fabulous building and gardens and how fab to spend the day with your mum. You both looked gorgeous in your outfits; the emerald green on your mum suited her so well and the dress, jacket and boots went so well together. Weren't you lucky with the weather?

    That was one heck of a cranky lion!

    I was interested to see all the notice boards in English and French. Victoria is not a French speaking part of Canada as I understand it (?) but is this the norm for Canadian signs to be in both English and French?

    1. It was a glorious day, Vronni, perfect for an adventure. Thank you so much - doesn't Mom look great in green? Thank you - I love this dress.

      Lol, I know, we both loved him!

      It's a national park - anything that is the big G Government of Canada is bilingual. Normally, anything in Victoria or our province is just English only (sometimes a First Nations language too!).

  5. I'm loving the Cinderella dress, which definitely has an Autumnal feel to it, and that massive belt is just perfect with is. As is that amazing jacket with its ginormous peplum! I'm also loving your Mum's emerald green top. And aww, that photo of you two at the end of your post ...
    Royal Roads and its garden, not to mention the castle, look utterly fabulous and dream-like in the Autumn splendour, complete with cotton wool clouds. That stone lion indeed has the look of Vizzini in one of his moods (or our late Phoebe, for that matter), and aww, that bunny!
    The sign to stay one peacock apart made me giggle, and I initially thought those cranes were real!
    So sorry to hear your Mom day adventure will soon be coming to an end. Will you be going back full time, Sheila? xxx

    1. Thank you, Ann - it's a favourite of mine, being a very special piece. I think I always wear the belt with it, but I loved wearing that leather jacket again. I know, that's my favourite pic too. :)

      It's really a beautiful place. Cranky kitty, aw! And a bunny! I thought the cranes were real at first too.

      No, I'll still have Thursdays off, so I'll do Mom-Day Adventures, but we'll figure out something indoors, maybe the Art Gallery or local museum instead.

  6. Some of my best "adventures" were with my mom after I had grown up. Enjoy! Love the outfit and wish it were cool enough here for boots and tights, let alone a jacket!

    1. I am definitely enjoying them, Michelle - I realize that our time together is precious.

      I was a little too warm in my tights and coat - I was sweaty by the end of the day.

  7. What a beautiful castle and gardens! it's a shame you won't be able to have these regular adventures as your work days change but nice things are getting back to a bit more normality for you too!
    I really like your dress and jacket together - and of course I love the mini MAC bag :)

    1. Isn't it lovely, Mica? Such grandeur! I want to try to still do stuff with Mom - maybe we can switch to indoor activities, like a movie or an art gallery.

      Thank you! I know, I think of you whenever I wear it!

  8. Oh I think it will take some adjudgement for you when you need to go back to work fulltime doesn't it? But this day you had in the pocket as we say here! What a castle! I almost felt relaxed just looking at it and the surroundings from your blog. IRL it must be gorgeous.I love everything about your outfit! Fantatsic dress and so cool with those boots!

    1. It will be a hard adjustment, Nancy - I'm glad I will still have an extra day off, at least for a little while.

      Isn't it a lovely place? It was very soothing and filled me with happiness. Thank you so much!

  9. I do love your Mum days, Sheila! You visit some beautiful places and both look spectacular whilst doing so.
    The peacock apart sign is absolutely brilliant and that photo of you on the bridge is wonderful. When Jon and I go to National Trust places we always shout "blog photo" when we see a bridge to pose on! xxx

    1. Thanks so much, Vix! It's been a summer of wonderful adventures for us.

      Isn't that awesome? I love that pic on the bridge - Mom has a good eye! Lol - I do that too!

  10. We are both moving buildings and still pushing back the official "regular" return to building, so things are quite confusing and causing an added layer of stress. I do think a fabulous wardrobe has to be a mood helper, so who knows what I'll spiff up. Your day out looked lovely.

    1. It's a LOT of stress on us admins, isn't it, Sam? We have new applications to learn, and things to physically move around. I would not wish a building move in addition to all of that!

      It really does help, getting dressed up. Thank you, it was!

  11. Wow, what an amazing place. Hatley Castle looks like a magical place, no wonder so many films were filmed there. The Japanese garden is spectacular and I just love that bunny photo. You and your mother had a great day together!
    I love the dress you wore and that wide belt is fabulous. I need to find my wide belts, I misplaced them somewhere in my closet. The leather jacket is the perfect pairing with this outfit as are boots. You really can't go wrong with a leather jacket, it adds rock chic to any outfit. I also like what your mother wore. Green looks lovely on her.

    1. It really is, Ivana. I always get a kick out of seeing it in a movie! We had a great time.

      Thank you - I love this belt in particular (Fendi!) and it works so well with the dress. I hope you find your belt collection! I so agree on the leather jacket - I was glad to get another wearing in, and to wear the boots as well. Mom does suit green, thanks!

  12. Oh that awesome belt and that beautiful jacket !!. Swoon.
    Emerald suits your mum very well.
    And I like that bunny a lot. He steals the show, even outdoes the castle.
    That last photo of you and mum is so nice. Sweet and you can see the resemblance.

    1. Thanks, Greetje! This outfit is full of special things!

      That's so funny about the rabbit - everyone loves a bunny, I guess.

      Thank you - yes, I look a lot like Mom.

  13. I've always loved that Kenzo dress. I have a Kenzo sweater that has the tiger face and "Kenzo" across the front but it's too small for me. I would love to find another piece by him. Thanks for the lovely virtual tour of the Castle and University grounds! My favourite things are the grumpy lion and the bunny, who looks like someone's pet instead of a wild rabbit.

    1. I have one of his "skater" dresses with the tiger face and giant "KENZO", as I think you know. You should cut the face off your sweater, and stitch it to the back of a jean jacket!

      I am always on the lookout for things by him, as he's one of my favourite designers. I'm so glad you enjoyed the tour. Hooray for the bunny!

  14. Your outings with your (beautiful) mama are amongst my very favourite posts. It warms the heart to see you two enjoying awesome adventures and making treasured memories to last a lifetime. Thank you, really and truly, for taking us along on this wonderful days out. The Island really does house some of Canada's - and the world's - most extraordinarily gorgeous gardens.

    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

    1. We have both really enjoyed this time we've had together this summer, Autumn. I know I will look back on these trips very fondly. I'm so glad you liked following along with us!

  15. I've seen too many Marvel films; I recognised the castle immediately. The outfit's wonderfully gothic too - perfect for the setting.

    Nowadays buildings are so bland. Wish we could get back to the attitude that even downspouts could be decorative. It must have been a wonderful place to live, though it's great that so many more people get to enjoy it now.

    1. Nice! I love that you recognized it! Thanks so much, Mim!

      I totally agree - the craftsmanship and attention to detail, you just do not see that anymore. I love that this wonderful place is open to the public now.


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