Hatley Park National Historic Site

Hatley Park National Historic Site

Hatley Park National Historic Site is located in Colwood, British Columbia in Greater Victoria. It is the site of Hatley Castle and Royal Roads University (formerly the Royal Roads Military College). The historic site is home to trails through mature stands of first and second-growth forest, including large Douglas-fir and western red cedar.


Hatley Castle and Gardens

Prior to European settlement, the area was used by the Coast Salish inhabitants as a source for food (berries and camas bulbs) and clothing (cedar bark). Settlers farmed this site until the early 1900s, when it was transformed into an elegant Edwardian estate.

In 1906, B.C.'s Lieutenant Governor, James Dunsmuir who was of Scottish ancestry, purchased the property and commissioned renowned Canadian architect Samuel Maclure to build a 40-room home in the Scottish baronial style, a Gothic revival style popular in the Edwardian period. The Dunsmuirs also created many beautiful formal gardens using the services of renowned American garden designers Brett and Hall. They named their estate "Hatley Park" in the tradition of the grand European private estates. The castle became a landmark and was home to the Dunsmuir family until the estate was sold to the Government of Canada.

In 2008, Hatley Castle celebrated its 100th anniversary since completion.

Royal residence

At the outbreak of World War II, plans were made for King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, and their two daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to reside in Canada. Hatley Castle was purchased by the federal government in 1940 for use as the King's royal palace, [ [http://www.ltgov.bc.ca/whatsnew/sp/sp_may07_2004.htm Office of the Lieutenant Governor: Speech by Iona Campolo, Retired Heads of Mission Association's Gala Dinner, Royal Roads University, Hatley Castle, Victoria, BC, February 5, 2007] ] however, it was decided that having the Royal Family leave the UK at a time of war would be too big a blow to morale, and the family stayed in London.

Royal Roads

When plans for the use of the castle as a royal residence fell through, the estate was converted into a naval training facility. It existed under a number of names, but from 1948 was known as Royal Roads Military College, named for the 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 college was closed in 1995 and subsequently leased to the Province of British Columbia. That same year, the castle and grounds were designated a national historic site by the Canadian government.

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 and assumes all stewardship responsibilities related to the site including the cost of site management, operations, heritage preservation and restoration, and educating the public about the site's history and natural attributes.

Hatley Gardens

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 carefully 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 retaining the integrity of Hatley 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 convert|565|acre|km2|sing=on 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. To this end, the Japanese, Rose and Italian gardens are the showcase areas of the property.

Admission fees controversy

In June 2006, citing the unfunded costs of heritage preservation (estimated to require an infusion of $20 million over the next decade), Royal Roads University started charging admission fees to its main heritage gardens, an area that makes up less than five per cent of the convert|565|acre|km2|sing=on campus. This move prompted some public controversy. After delays to the plan to include parking and admission as 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.

Appearances in TV and film

*Hatley Castle is known to "Smallville" fans as Luthor Mansion, the estate belonging to Lex Luthor.
*The castle is also known to fans of the "X-Men" film series as the setting for Professor Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters.
*It was also used in the 1997 movie, "Masterminds" as "Shady Glen School", a posh private elementary school in California.
*The castle was also used in MacGyver. In , "The Legend of the Holy Rose, part 2", it is used as a hideout for the episode villain.
*In the TV series Seven Days, ,"Love and Other Disasters", the castle is used as a home for royal family and a place for royal wedding.
*In the series "", Hatley Castle was the headquarter of the San Francisco legacy.
*Many scenes of Fierce People (2004) show the interior and exterior of Hatley castle. It was used as the stately home of the rich family clan of Ogden C. Osborne.
*The ending scenes of The Changeling (1980) were filmed inside Hatley Castle.

See also

* Hatley Park (Greater Victoria)


* Information about Hatley Gardens copied with permission from [http://www.hatleypark.ca/about-us/hatley-gardens/ Hatley Park website]

External links

* [http://www.hatleypark.ca/ Hatley Park Website]
* [http://www.royalroads.ca Royal Roads University]
* [http://www.savehatleypark.com/ Save Hatley Park]

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