Monday, May 25, 2009

Nothing says, 'I have an inflated sense of my own self-worth' like...

Building a huge house for yourself and your family and calling it a castle.

This is Craigdarrock Castle in Victoria, BC. It's a big building with a lot of nice stuff in it and it's main function is to relieve tourists of their money.

Do I seem cynical? Well, I am a bit.

The man who built this house, Robert Dunsmuir, made his fortune by exploiting whomever he could; fellow immigrant miners from Britain, immigrant workers from China and Japan and local Aboriginal peoples, in a dangerous industry (coal mining) where death and injury were common. He has been described as one of British Columbia's most ruthless, avaricious employers and one of the earliest symbols of unbridled capitalism in BC. (These description are from a book. I'm trying to find the book. I can't find the feckin' book.)

I can appreciate the artistry and craftsmanship in various aspects of the building; especially the beautiful woodwork and stained glass. Here, on 'Victoria Daily Photo' are some excellent photos of the interior. I love the woodwork, windows and doo-dads; they are beautiful.

As is the neighbourhood, Rockland, that surrounds the castle. It's a lovely neighbourhood with some very gorgeous homes. Actually, much more beautiful and with far more charm than the castle, imo. I had intended to visit the castle on Saturday but after a very nice walk through Rockland, I felt ill seeing that monstrosity. I can't help it; there is something very distasteful, cold and inhuman to me about Craigdarrock Castle... Sorry. I couldn't be arsed to even cross the street, let alone, shell out ten bucks to go in. Bleugh...

I should work for the Tourism Board, eh?



  1. Can't see much to disagree with you here. Similar reason as to why I wouldn't shell out 12 quid to get into Glamis Castle. Only thing worse than a prick.... a rich prick.
    Castle my arse.

  2. 'Castle my arse.'

    Exactly. I should have just written that!

    That it's called a castle, when clearly it is not, underscores so many levels of wrongness.

    Oh, hey Neil... One and a half hours to read 13, one-three, pages!

  3. One of my mum's mutterings as she goes around these huge castles, cathedrals etc is "I wonder how many men died while this was being built?" How many poor sods lost their lives trying to feed their families while working in dreadful conditions on a building to feed someone else's ego.

    awful sentence that but you get my drift.

  4. Main function of the building..LOL!

    I've allways wondered the megalomania, and eagerness to exploid other people, of some people. How do they sleep at night? Or what do they see when they look at mirror? It's beyond me. And, please, do not explain it to me if you know, don't really wanna know.

    It would be nice to have guide like you around. -"This building was build by this goddamn bastard, who.." LOL! It would be sooo refreshing from the usual bs. Don't you think? :)

  5. Oh dear..... that doesn't bode well does it? I'll just go check my bank balance and the flight times.

  6. I do get your drift, Mog and your Mum's...

    I'm beginning to think of a whole new career move here! An anti-tour guide, tour guide.

    Neil... I'm enjoying it... it's just going to be slow going until I pick up the vocab. Plus it assumes a knowledge of history that I'm not that up on. Between the book, the glossary, the notes, a dictionary and wikipedia... it's not exactly a cuddle up with a book, book but so far, so good.

  7. Crap! I woulda given you the ten bucks just to see if the clown had if filled with furniture from Ikea!

  8. I kind of like architectural monstrosities. If you think about it, all monuments and architectural wonders came by way of rich, bastard egomaniacs. No one amassed a fortune by being kind and altruistic. No one.

    Very funny.

  9. WOW!Treading on Victoria's sacred cows here! I love it. I admire the skyline of Craigdarroch Castle because its monstrosity is a cautionary tale for those who choose a life of building riches without relationship. When you walk inside this building the walls ooze with sadness. Robert Dunsmuir died shortly before the 'castle' was finished and his wife lived a solitary life in what I think became a prison for her.
    Craigdarroch could be so much more to the community rather than a tomb for tourists. In the past I've seen plays here and with its expansive grounds there potential for outdoor galleries and markets. But it seems doomed to isolation.

  10. Sacred cow! Haha! I know! ;-)

    I agree with you about its isolation. It seems that many of the tourist traps and areas are becoming more and more like no-go zones for residents. Well, at least this resident.

    Which cow shall be next? :D

  11. Hmmm.. I was thinking...what architecture is admired/revered today but may be a symbol or misfortune or greed in the future?

  12. Good question... I need to think about that one.

  13. I'm the odd one out here. I'm that tourist who loves to visit castles. My husband and I took a castle tour of Scotland and Ireland for our 10th anniversary. We loved it.

  14. P.S. Glamis Castle was one of our favorites.

  15. Oh, don't get me wrong Sarah, I like real castles! But this 'castle' in this post is not a real castle... it's just a big house in Victoria, BC!

  16. Just toured "castle"on July 25, 2009. The individuals who built the "castle" were truly artists. The woodwork, etc is beautiful. Yet, as I walked up to the entry I noticed the eariness of the building and once inside, it was the "artists" that kept me there. The history of the family does not bode well as icons to humanitarism, they were very self-absorbed is my read. Not sorry the family eventually dwindled inheritance away and became extinct (as I understand), they could have done so much for so many.

    EMB - Oklahoma USA

  17. Speaking as a tourist who paid to see it, the book is "The Dunsmuir Saga" by Terry Reksten. Another family member built another mansion as a honeymoon cottage in Oakland California. It, "The Dunsmuir House" was featured in a James Bond film.