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"Happiness always looks small when you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and at once you learn how big and precious it is."
Maxim Gorky

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Embracing the fog...

Here is one of my favorite places, any season...
Pass through these cast iron gates into the past...
Here you'll find an enchanting place...
Full of history and mystery...
This is Hatley Castle. 
Once home to coal baron James Dunsmuir.
When it was being built, he was quoted as saying "money doesn't matter, just build what I want."
And so it was.
He lived here until his death in 1920 and his wife, until her death in 1937 and their daughter lived there until her death 6 months later.
For 3 years it was home to the caretaker.
Imagine rattling around in this huge place all on your own.
It's situated on the water and I'm sure there was many a 'dark and stormy night'.
I was hoping for a sunny day to show off the fall colours but the fog really did lend atmosphere to the place and so I crept around the walls in the quietness that only fog can bring...
No details were left out...
Including these 2 lovely stone lions near the front entrance...
One calm and sleepy...
The other, ready, on guard...
Around the side of the castle is the entrance to the Italian gardens...
Grandiose columns uphold the 100 year old wisteria vines...
Secret doorways beckon those brave enough to peek in...
Although very pretty with it's lovely bones, the Italian garden is much more picturesque in summer with all of its roses in bloom.
I came to see this...
The Japanese Garden in all of it's splendid colour...
At one point during it's glory days, there was a small Chinatown which housed the 120 gardeners it took to maintain all of this.
Yes, money was certainly no object to James Dunsmuir.
For the 40 years following the sale of the Castle to the government, it housed a military college.
In 1994 it was sold and is now an extended campus of the University of Victoria, called Royal Roads.
Now for the unexplained...(cue spooky music)
A mysterious woman tugging on blankets at night,
a white figure floating through the air and pots banging in a vacant kitchen.
"Cadets used to sleep on the top floor which had been the ballroom," said RRU spokeswoman Stephanie Slater.
"Sometimes they had been wakened by a woman tugging down their blankets at night."
It's thought that Laura Dunsmuir was drawn to the young cadets after she lost a son overseas in the First World War.
There's an unconfirmed story of a maid of Laura Dunsmuir who was jilted by her lover and killed herself by leaping from a third-floor window.
It's believed that maid is still floating around the castle, and her presence was picked up by the ghost-hunters.
 So these are the stories that are whispered through the hallways of this grand house...
Who knows?.....

9 comments:

farmlady said...

I"VE BEEN HERE. It's an amazing place. My sister and I were visiting a friend in Esquimalt a few years ago and we went to an artist's fair on the grounds. Parked below the castle and walked all over the beautiful grounds. I will never forget the gardens. There were angel statues in one of the gardens that I took photos of. They were so beautiful.
The house was open and had docents in each room to tell you the story of the family. They didn't tell us the ghost stories.
What a lovely place it was. Thanks for all the lovely pictures.

Tatersmama said...

How absolutely gorgeous!!! This is exactly the kind of place I would wish for my own... if money were no object!
A battalion of caretakers/gardeners etc would be nice, but I think I could quite happily rattle around on my own.
Until the ghosts came knocking, anyway! :)

Tatersmama said...

I just checked out their site, and your photos have theirs beat!
You can add your photos to their website as well, if you're interested!

http://www.hatleycastle.com/photos_hatley_castle.html

Don said...

Thanks for taking me to this place and telling it's story. Great post!

the wild magnolia said...

To date this is the most amazing and wonderful place I have ever seen. A come hither to visit place.

Stellar photographs and information.

I enjoyed my visit so much.

Christina said...

this is a stunning post! enchanting indeed.
just lovely.
xo

Cobalt Violet said...

OH my!!! Gorgeous post! What a beautiful place and I love the weather in these shots. You are right about the atmosphere - love the gardens! It would be fun to sea it through seasons with the same vantage points!
Greedy, huh?

Fantastic job!

Sherry O'Keefe said...

you are killing me with these photos of yours! i am at work and moaned out loud when i came to the photo of the italian gardens and then the water.

moaned OUT loud. AT WORK!

Jaime said...

This is one of my favourite haunts too.

You know so much history of these places I have wandered. Very interesting!