1050 Joan Crescent, Victoria, BC

(250) 592-5323

Status: Former Residence; Heritage Property; Museum



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Craigdarroch Castle just after sunset - view from the south, Victoria, Canada 01.jpg

By <a href="//" title="User:Podzemnik">Michal Klajban</a> - <span class="int-own-work" lang="en">Own work</span>, CC BY-SA 4.0Link

Photo Courtesy of Nadelene N

Photo Courtesy of Nadelene N


In 1887 on the original plot of land of 28 acres (9.3 hectares) the coal baron Robert Dunsmuir ordered construction on this Scottish Baronial castle to begin.

In April of 1889 Robert died before the castle was completed. His sons completed the house moving in Robert’s 3 unmarried daughters and 2 orphaned grandchildren in 1890.

Robert had verbally promised his sons the entire company and wealth would be transferred to them. Instead – per his will – he transferred everything to his wife, Joan. It is 7 more years before their mother would transfer ownership to her 2 sons.

Unfortunately, the youngest son – Alex – died on his honeymoon almost immediately after his mother finally relents and transfers ownership of the last colliery to her sons. This leaves William – the eldest son – in sole ownership of the family’s entire wealth and holdings.

Joan immediately began a lawsuit against her remaining son that went all the way to the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council in London – which was the equivalent of the Supreme Court of Canada today. William had become the Premier of the Province of British Columbia by this point assuring this lawsuit became the equivalent of a celebrity trial in modern times.

After Joan’s death her daughters – who were still living in the castle but it was all that remained of the family fortunes still in their control – sold it. The castle was then given away in a raffle but lost to the bank in 1917 over unpaid debts.

In 1919, after being heavily renovated, the castle was opened as a military hospital. It was then used as classrooms for Victoria College until student numbers became too great for the structure. Then it was converted into office space and used by the Victoria Board of Education.

In 1959 a Heritage Society was formed to save the castle for history which finally gained access to the castle in 1969. However, any efforts to restore the castle back to it’s 19th century were stalled by having to share the castle with the Victoria Conservatory of Music.

In 1979 the Conservatory moved out needing more space and the city sold the reminder of the castle to the Heritage for one dollar.

They converted it to the museum it is today.


Paranormal Activity

The apparition of Joan Dunsmuir is seen walking down the main staircase in a full ballroom gown. She is very particular about her haunting as she is never seen anywhere else on the stairs or even ascending the stairs.

The apparition of a young girl – who many think was Robert’s second daughter who passed away shortly after he did – is seen in the basement. Strangely enough she is almost always seen staring angrily at the floor. She is never seen for long as she will fade away should anyone enter the basement and witness her ghost.

The apparition of a maid in a Victorian uniform is seen throughout the house.

Other Reported Activity: objects moving on their own; phantom sound of a young children crying; rooms suddenly dropping in temperature and cold spots that move around the house; light anomalies; disembodied whispers; phantom smell of candle wax; the sound of a piano playing in the dining room when no one is in the room – there is also not one single piano in the house but there was 30 of them when the Conservatory of Music was in the building; electrical disturbances and feelings of being watched.