Hatley Park National Historic Site

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Hatley Park National Historic Site
Hatley Castle.jpg
Location Royal Roads University (formerly the Royal Roads Military College) in Colwood, British Columbia in Greater Victoria, British Columbia Canada
Type University Museum - Historic House Museum
Website

www.hatleypark.ca

Official name: Hatley Park / Former Royal Roads Military College National Historic Site of Canada
Designated: 1995
Hatley Castle, August 2009
Hatley Castle

Hatley Park National Historic Site is located in Colwood, British Columbia in Greater Victoria. It is the site of Hatley Castle, a Classified Federal Heritage Building. Since 1995, the mansion and estate have been used for the public Royal Roads University. From the 1940s-1995, it was used for the Royal Roads Military College, a naval training facility.

The extensive grounds of the historic site have formal gardens, former farmland, and trails through mature stands of first and second-growth forest, including large Douglas fir and western red cedar.

History[edit]

Hatley Castle and Gardens[edit]

In 1906, B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir, who was of Scottish descent, purchased the property. He and his wife Laura commissioned the renowned Canadian architect Samuel Maclure to build a 40-room mansion in the Scottish baronial style; the Tudor revival style was popular in the Edwardian period. The Dunsmuirs created many beautiful formal gardens using the services of renowned American garden designers Franklin Brett and George D. Hall of Boston, Massachusetts. The Dunsmuirs named their estate "Hatley Park," in the tradition of British and European private estates. The castle became a landmark and was occupied by descendants of the Dunsmuir family until the last years of the Great Depression.

The family sold the property to the Government of Canada in 1939. The government sold off some of the land and during five days in June 1939, “Maynard & Sons” conducted a public auction of the mansions contents totaling 927 lots.[1] In 2008, the 100th anniversary of Hatley Castle was celebrated.

A Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada plaque reads:

"Hatley Park. This superb example of an Edwardian park was laid out for James and Laura Dunsmuir in the early 20th century. At its centre stands a Tudor Revival mansion, whose picturesque design is enhanced by a rich array of decoration and fine craftmanship. The grounds, featuring a variety of native and exotic vegetation, unfold from formal gardens to recreational spaces, farmlands and forests. Acquired by the Canadian armed forces in 1940, Hatley Park evolved to meet the needs of Royal Roads Military College in a manner that has preserved its essential Edwardian character."

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The Royal Roads Military College band consisting of 15 pipers and drummers and 30 brass-and-reed musician recorded an LP in 1983-4. Petty Officer First Class Gabby R. Bruner, RRMC bandmaster from 1979-85 composed `Hatley Park` as the official quick march for RRMC and `Dunsmuir Castle`, for the Visit of Queen Elizabeth to RRMC in 1983.[2]

Planned royal residence[edit]

At the outbreak of World War II, contingency plans were made for King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, and their two daughters, princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to reside in Canada. The federal Crown-in-Council purchased Hatley Castle in 1940 for use as the King's royal residence.[3] The Royal Family and government decided against their leaving the UK during the war, and the family stayed in London.

Royal Roads Military College[edit]

The Canadian government adapted the mansion as a naval training facility. From 1948 it was known as the Royal Roads Military College. It is named for the Royal Roads body of water, which forms the entrance into Esquimalt Harbour from the Strait of Juan de Fuca, lying to the east of the facility. The military college was closed in 1995 and the estate leased to the Province of British Columbia. That same year, the castle and grounds were designated a National Historic Site of Canada.[4]

In September 1995, Royal Roads University was opened as a public, degree-granting university. It leases the campus from the Department of National Defence for $1 per year. The university manages all stewardship responsibilities related to the site, including site management, operations, heritage preservation and restoration, and educating the public about the site's history and natural resources.

Hatley Gardens[edit]

In 1912, the Dunsmuirs engaged the American landscape architects Franklin Brett and George D. Hall of Boston, students of Frederick Law Olmsted, to develop a landscape for the entire site. They prepared a classic design for an Edwardian park that included the overall layout for the entire property. The plan organized the estate into four distinct landscape zones, progressing from a series of nine formal 'garden rooms' near Hatley Castle, to recreational spaces, then to agricultural lands, and finally to the forest surrounding the estate.

During the Dunsmuir era, approximately 100 gardeners and groundskeepers tended the estate. During the years when the cadets attended Royal Roads Military College, the Department of National Defence employed approximately 50 gardeners and groundskeepers to maintain the property; a testimony to their commitment to retain the integrity of the estate.

Today, Royal Roads University employs five full-time gardeners, one arborist, a garden curator, seven seasonal gardeners and groundskeepers, and one manager to tend to the entire 565-acre (2.29 km2) estate, including the formal gardens.

As the university does not receive any federal, provincial or municipal funding to maintain the site, the gardeners must make choices about the areas that can be best presented. They have made the Japanese, Rose and Italian gardens the showcase areas of the property.

Admission fees controversy[edit]

In June 2006, citing the unfunded costs of heritage preservation (estimated to require an infusion of $20 million over the next decade for a capital program), the university started charging admission fees to its main heritage gardens, an area that makes up less than five per cent of the 565-acre (2.29 km2) campus. This prompted some public controversy. After delays to the plan to include parking and admission in an omnibus fee, RRU changed the fee structure to garden-only admission, i.e., $8 for adults from the original cost of $12 per adult. It also introduced a $15 four-month summer garden pass for residents of Greater Victoria, in addition to the free pass offered to residents of Colwood.

Use in TV and film[edit]

Buildings[edit]

The Register of the Government of Canada Heritage Buildings lists 9 recognized buildings and 1 classified building on the grounds of the Hatley Park National Historic Site.

Building (Year built) Significance
Guard House Building 38 Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2002 [5]
Belmont Road Main Gatehouse BEL 13 (1908) Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2000 [6]
Cow Barn / Dairy RR6 (1912–16) Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2000 [7] The original Tudor-style dairy and cattle barns were converted into laboratories and classrooms for physics and oceanography. The building was refurbished in 1998 into research and computer laboratories
Gatehouse Lodge RR8 (1912 to 1916) Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2000 [8]
Grant Building Building 24 (1942) main academic building, laboratories, cafeteria, and offices named for first Commanding Officer of HMCS Royal Roads, Captain John Moreau Grant. The building was recently renovated. Recognized Federal Heritage Building 1990 [9]
Gymnasium - sports complex (1942) gymnasium, weight room, fitness studio, squash courts, outdoor tennis courts *Registry of Historic Places of Canada [10]
Hatley Castle (1908) administrative centre of Royal Roads University. From 1941 until 1943 when Grant Block was completed, the Castle served as dormitory and mess hall for cadets and staff officers at RRMC. Classified Federal Heritage Building 1986 Registry of Historic Places of Canada[11]
Hatley Park / Former Royal Roads Military College (1908–13) designated National Historic Site of Canada 1995 [12]
Millward Wing (of the Nixon Building) (1991) Offices, dormitories, named for former Commandant Air Vice-Marshal James Bert Millward DFC (Bar), GdG(F), CD, RCAF 1949-52 the 4th Commandant of RRMC.
Nixon Block RR24A (1954 to 1956) classrooms, dormitories named after the former Commanding Officer Nixon of the Royal Naval College of Canada, when it was re-established in Esquimalt, British Columbia in 1918. Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2000 [13]
Stable / Garage RR4 (1914) Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2000 [14] James Dunsmuir's stables and garage were later converted to classrooms, dormitory, social center known as the Mews Conference Centre.
Swimming Pool RR22A (1959) two-storey, white concrete building composed of horizontal cubic volumes. Recognized Federal Heritage Building 2000 [15]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 48°26′03″N 123°28′21″W / 48.4343°N 123.4724°W / 48.4343; -123.4724 (Hatley Park National Historic Site)