Hatley Park has the reputation of being one of the most diverse and largest National Site of the Canada. The park is situated in Greater Victoria at Colwood British Columbia. It houses the Hatley Castle and Royal Roads Military College – which is known as Royal Roads University in the present days. The historic site also comprises of Douglas-fir, forests and western red cedar.
History of Hatley Castle and Hatley Garden
Before the settlement of European the area, on which the present day Hatley Park exists, was used by inhabitants of Coast Salish. These inhabitants used this area as source of food as the area was rich in camas bulbs and berries. Cedar bark available in the area fulfilled the inhabitant’s requirement of clothing. Prior to transformation of this area into elegant Edwardian Estate in early 1900s, the European settlers used to farm this area.
Lieutenant Governor James Dunsmuir purchased the area in 1906 and assigned building of 40-room Scottish baronial style home to Samuel McClure, a renowned architect. Lieutenant Governor Dunsmuir also deployed Brett and Hall, renowned garden designers of that time, to create gardens in the area. The name “Hatley Park” was given to the site by these designers. These designers prepared design for Edwardian park including layout for the complete area. For landscape developing the area was divided into four zones. The first zone included nine garden room series adjacent to Hatley Castle, followed by recreation space, afterwards agricultural land and forest around the estate at the end. The castle built by Dunsmuir became the landmark in the Canadian history. Before Dunsmuir sold this estate to the Government of Canada in 1940 he and his family stayed in the estate.
After the purchase of estate by Government of Canada, the estate was converted into a naval training facility. During the period between 1940 and 1948 the training academy was known by various names. In 1948 the training facility was named as ‘Royal Roads Military College’. The estate was leased to Province of British Columbia in 1995 after closure of the college. This was in the 1995 that the estate was designated by government of Canada as national historic site. In the same year, 1995 September, the Royal Roads University was opened within the estate campus.
Presently the Hatley gardens are maintained by the employees of Royal Roads University. None of the Governments, Federal, Provincial or Municipal, makes funding for maintenance of the gardens. The Rose gardens, Japanese gardens and Italian gardens in the estate are main points of tourist attraction. Owing to the fund crisis the Royal Roads University imposed admission fee especially to the heritage gardens since June 2006. As per the present free structure an adult visitor is to pay $8. You can obtain a summer garden pass for a period of four months by paying $15.
There are number of programs organized for the visitors. You can participate in any one program, attend special event, and get yourself enrolled in a garden workshop during your visit to the Hatley Park National Historic Site. The Habitat Café housed in the estate caters for your snacks.
Hatley Park is considered as ideal site for various functions like meetings, conferences, weddings, retreats, special events and filming of motion picture etc owing to its gracious hospitality and intimate setting.
The Hatley Park National Historical Site remains open for the general public from 10am to 5pm during summer.
The total distance from our Victoria B&B inn about 35 minutes by driving. Getting to RRU from Victoria and Vicinity From the Saanich Peninsula and the downtown core take the Island Highway (Canada Highway #1) North-West to exit 10 for Colwood and Sooke onto the Old Island Highway (#14). Travel South-West for 3 kilometres (2 miles) and turn left at the University entrance. For more information, just give us a call.