Getting to Craigdarroch
We are conveniently located at 1050 Joan Crescent, just a 25 minute walk from the inner harbor or a quick 8 minute drive or bus ride. We offer free parking in our lot around the Castle.
From the corner of Douglas and Fort Street, you can catch the 11, 14, 15, or 22 to Craigdarroch. Just inform the bus driver that you are headed to Craigdarroch Castle (pronounced Craig – Derrick) and they will tell you when to hop off.
Walking to the Castle:
Starting at Douglas and Fort Street, head East straight up Fort Street to Craigdarroch. Fort was the original street that led out of Fort Victoria, the Hudson’s Bay settlement. As you move away from the inner harbor, the lower section of Fort is known as Antique Row. Today, as well as the many wonderful antique shops, there is a wide variety of other interesting shops to browse.
Right up from Douglas St you will find The Dutch Bakery. Founded in 1956 in this location, it is still operated by the same Dutch family that started it. The bakery is also in a heritage building. It features pastries, chocolates and a coffee shop that hasn’t changed much from its beginning. Just a few doors down is another well established Victoria tradition. Russell’s Books has been in the same family for 50 years and 20 years in this location. It’s a book lovers paradise selling new and used books from a street level, upstairs and downstairs shops.
Your walk is going to take you through 2 distinct districts on Fort Street.. Douglas Street to Cook Street is small shops and curiosities. Cook street to Joan Crescent are heritage houses (most now turned into businesses) On the way you will pass Moss Street which, if you turn right, will take you to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria.
Once you get to Joan Crescent and Craigdarroch Road you will see the newly installed replica stone gates that were the entrance of the Dunsmuir’s home. You can take either road to the Castle. You get great views of the castle from either direction.
The OPES Walking App.
One of our favourite walking guides to Victoria was recently released by the Ogden Point
Enhancement Society. A Walking App that you can download Free.
You can download it here FREE by clicking on this icon also. It’s a lot of fun for everyone.
Once you’ve visited the Castle, what to do next? What are my choices?
Government House and the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria
Turn right on Joan Crescent toward 1401 Rockland Avenue. Government House is the home of our Lieutenant Governor and the 36 acres grounds and gardens are open to the public for free year round. There is also a Tea Room in the annex that is open from May until September three days a week. Please contact them at: http://www.ltgov.bc.ca/contact/default.html
Once you’ve finished viewing the gardens, stroll back down Rockland Avenue towards downtown, turn right on Moss Street and head up to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria. After you’ve seen the gallery, walk back down to Rockland Avenue and continue your journey downtown. Along the way you will see Langham Court Theatre, Pioneer Square Cemetery, and Christ Church Cathedral. You will also be passing by some of the oldest and grandest Heritage homes along the way.
If you are looking for lunch but still want some history after your visit, go back to Fort Street and cross over to Yates Street behind the Shell gas station. Fernwood Road runs perpendicular to Fort and Yates. Just walk along Fernwood and you will be in another area of heritage homes and buildings dating to the beginning of Victoria. You will notice that the houses are not as grand as Rockland but are equally well maintained. The telephone posts have all been painted by local residents and are refreshed annually. As you get closer to the centre of Fernwood, on your left you will notice Victoria High School dating back to 1876 when it was a two room log cabin. The famous architect Francis Rattenbury was responsible for at least one of this schools incarnations. The building also housed the Victoria College, prior to moving into Craigdarroch Castle.
Farther along you will also see the Belfry Theater which was originally the home of the Emmanuel Baptist Church built from 1886-87. It’s a great little theatre if you get a chance to attend a performance. If you’re here for lunch, you will find the Fernwood Inn Pub, Stage Restaurant, Cornerstone Café, Ca Va Restaurant and more.
Oak Bay Village
If you want a piece of Olde England then Oak Bay is your destination. It’s a bit far for a walk from the Castle unless you are a strong walker but you can catch the #11 bus on Fort Street to take you there. (Note the stop is not at the base of Joan Crescent, but rather closer to Moss Street.) You will find many quaint shops and interesting buildings as well as the English Penny Farthing Pub, Ottavio Italian Bakery and Deli, Vis A Vis Tapas Bar, Cobs Bakery, the Oak Bay Butcher, Rogers Chocolates, great dress and curio shops and more.
From here if you wish you can make your way to Willows Beach, The Oak Bay Marina or the Oak Bay Beach hotel. All are traditions in Victoria. with lunch and dinner facilities yearly at the Marina and Hotel and Willows Beach seasonally. Check the bus schedule on the back of the bus sign or B.C. Transit for scheduled buses. If you are driving all three venues have free parking.
The Royal BC Museum, Undersea Gardens, Miniature World, Bug Zoo, Maritime Museum to name a few. Or browse along China Town on Fisgard Street, established in 1856, second in age only to San Francisco’s China Town…though many of our buildings are actually older as San Francisco’s burned to the ground after the great earthquake in 1906. The Empress Hotel, finished in 1908 by Sir Francis Rattenbury is a great place for traditional afternoon tea and has many dining options as well. The Parliament Buildings offer free tours of the building daily. Did you know that you can dine in the legislative dining room by getting a pass?
Farther afield there is Royal Roads University which is home to Hatley Park, home of James Dunsmuir, son of Robert and Joan of Craigdarroch. Also, Butchart Gardens established in 1908 by Mrs. Jeannie Butchart. A real gem of Victoria history. There is also the Butterfly Gardens and the Shaw Ocean Institute in Sidney that are both well worth seeing.
Welcome to Victoria. You won’t be disappointed!!!