Hatley Park Historic Site Gardens

Birds of a Feather Bed and Breakfast


Hatley Park Contact information:
Local: 250.391.2666

Westshore Victoria, BC

The National Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada has designated Hatley Park a National Historic Site, as it is one of the few Edwardian estates in Canada with its key structural elements intact. This is also the home of Hatley Castle.

The story of Hatley Park National Historic site of Canada, rechristened Royal Roads from the offshore anchorage in the Juan de Fuca Strait, has it beginnings in the singleness of purpose and dogged determination of one man. No history of the estate would be complete without some mention of the man in whose mind Hatley Park was conceived and through whose efforts the lands were assembled and the buildings constructed.

The Honourable James Dunsmuir was born at Fort Rupert, BC on 8 July 1851, the oldest son of Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish miner who, at the time of his son’s birth, was on his way from Ayrshire to “Vancouver’s Island” to prospect for coal. It was not until 1869, however, when James was eighteen years old, that Robert, prospecting on his own, finally struck the rich seam of coal at Wellington, near Nanaimo, BC. He raised sufficient capital, acquired 2,000 acres of land, and started operations which proved so successful that before long he had bought out the other three partners in the venture to become sole owner. During this time, James himself had worked through all the stages of mining and had risen to the position of manager in his father’s business. Under his management, the daily output of coal quickly rose from 30 tons to 1,500 tons. After his father’s death in 1889, James devoted himself to the development of the collieries at Wellington and Cumberland, laid out the townsite of Ladysmith, and initiated the Ladysmith-Vancouver ferry service.

It was only natural that his prominence in business should lead him into politics. He was elected to the Legislature in 1898 and became Premier in 1900; but, having no taste for public life, he resigned in 1902. He later served as Lieutenant-Governor of the Province.

It was during the early years of this century that he purchased the Hatley Park estate comprised of about 650 acres. The original Hatley Park house stood on the site that is now the student parking lot (lot 3). This house had been completely destroyed by fire while its owner was in England. Having amassed a huge fortune, James now turned his attention to the building and planning of the new estate to which he intended to retire.

The site features hundreds of heritage trees significant for their size, rarity and diversity, including 250-year-old Douglas firs that are among the largest in the area. The showpieces of the park are generally considered to be the formal gardens of which the Italian, the Rose and the Japanese gardens are the best known.

The salt marsh estuary located at the mouth of Colwood Creek along the shore of Esquimalt Lagoon is a rare ecosystem in this area. The estuary acts as a transition zone between freshwater, marine and forest habitats. As a result, it is highly productive and sustains a wide diversity of plants and animals, including sedges, grasses, cattails, raccoons, sea otters, waterfowl, marine crustaceans, and both marine and freshwater fish.

The salt marsh plays an important ecological role. It provides habitat and sources of food for many species, filters and purifies water flowing through it, buffers against on-shore storm waves, and regulates nutrients, sediments, and water in both terrestrial and aquatic systems.

Entry to Gardens & Castle

Hatley Gardens Open:

10am – 5pm

Hatley Castle Open:

Mon-Fri: 10am – 4:30pm (last tour leaves at 4pm)
Sat-Sun: 10am – 3:45pm (last tour leaves at 3:15pm)

Garden Admission

May 1-Sept 30

Oct 1-Apr 30

Adults (18-59): $9.00 $4.50
Seniors (60+): $8.00 $4.00
Youth (13-17): $6.00 $3.00
Child (12 and under):   Free Free
Family of Five: $27.00 $13.50

Guided Hatley Castle Tours:

May 1-Sept 30 May 1-Sept 30

Castle Tour and Garden Entrance:

30min 60min
Adults (18-59): $15.00 $17.00
Seniors (60+): $14.00 $16.00
Youth ( 13-17 years): $ 9.00 $11.00
Child ( 6-12 years): $7.00 $9.00
Children under 5 years:   Free Free
Family of 5: $42.00 $48.00

Guided Castle Tour Times Daily @:


10:00 am
10:45 am
12:45 pm
1:30 pm
3:15 pm


11:30 am
2:00 pm


10:00 am
10:45 am
12:45 pm
1:30 pm
3:15 pm


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