Hatley Park Castle and journey back to the US
Victoria Travel Blog› entry 5 of 5 › view all entries
Monday morning then! Happy Memorial Day America! Although business as usual in Canada... I woke up by 7am and was on the road at 8am. You could hear the honks of cars and buses, the commuter traffic, people going to work, college, etc. Return of the manic Monday. I seemed to be fairly at peace that day, I didn't have much on the agenda and try making it as relaxed as possible (although knowing me, it never really is, is it?!).
First stop of the day was the central park - Beacon Hill Park. Nice place, lots of animals, good for an early morning stroll. What is it about me and a fascination for Beacon? There's Beacon Street - my dream HOME in Boston and now this. Whilst I was parking, I noticed a series of totem poles by the museum. So I walked up there and took some pics.
I walked back through the park to the car, and drove for about 10 miles to my only visit of the day - the Hatley Park Castle. On Saturday I visited Craigdorrach castle that was built by BC's richest man Robert Dunsmuir. Well, his son is responsible for this Castle. It was meant to be very English Manor looking, and Tudor in appearence as well with the ubiquitous large arches and all. Hatley Park is now part of the First Reeds University, they are responsible for the upkeep and pay the Government of Canada a token 1$ a year as "rent". From the outside, the Castle is gorgeous.
The visitor's centre opens at 10am and the first tour of the castle is at 1030am. It was quite pricey - 18$! Wow! So I bought the ticket and headed for a stroll in the gardens. The gardens have been the spot of many film locations inc. the ice rink on X Men, and Poltergeist from years ago. The gardens are magnificent. The tulips were in full bloom. The arrangement of plants was also well done. Near the Castle were three statues representing Summer, Winter and Spring. There's a Japanese and rose garden as well.
The tour started at 1030am sharp. They take you around the outside first, and then indoors. The outside view was amazing. You see the Olympic Mountains in the background, with lots of greenery that leads up to it. Very impressive! The indoors on the other hand were a BIG anticlimax. For one thing, virtually every one of the 22 odd rooms is being used for administrative work - you have HR, accountants, all sorts of people working here. The larger rooms are used as conference rooms with video, whiteboards, etc. Very unattractive. I think the most tragic part was the history behind the Castle. In that, there is nothing remotely interesting. The same old story of the big halls, the fire place, the secret corridor and the office room. The only funny thing that happened was when the guide was showing us the toilet with the original tiling that Bruce Dunsmuir used to use, and proudly narrating how the tiles from those days were so strong, etc etc.
The tour got done at sharp 1130am, I had a walk around the gardens (very unimpressive, especially for the Butchart returnees such as self) and headed back to the carpark (quite a walk). My ferry from SWartz Bay was at 1pm.
The drive was peaceful to the bay, stopped by the store and had an egg-potato sandwich and chocolate milk for lunch before boarding the ferry.
I finally reached my hotel room in Seattle at about 6pm, and spent the rest of the day reminiscing about my debut trip to Canada. It's not too often that one gets to visit 2 countries in a span of less than 10 days. But after England, this was a nice post-holiday break! I still have some unfinished work in Victoria - the museums and some more around the island including the much talked about Port Hardy. So I will return sometime. And throw in Vancouver in as well... THE cosmo city of the West that isn't checked yet on my list. But overall, j'ai eu un bon temps au Canada, merci beaucoup pour les memoires, les experiences, le cuisin et plus important - les montagnes. Et aussi, je serais de retour a Victoria!