Hatley Castle: almost a refuge for Queen

Cosmin Dzsurdzsa

Royal Roads Archivist Jenny Seeman was interviewed by The Capital about the history of Hatley Castle.

Here is an excerpt:

But by the 1930s, the increasingly cash-strapped Dunsmuirs decided to sell. In 1939, after a fruitless two years on the Victoria real estate market, the castle was purchased by the Canadian federal government at a rock bottom price of $75,000, about $1.4 million in 2019 dollars.

The stated reason was to establish the property as a naval training facility to complement CFB Esquimalt. However, as Royal Roads University archives manager Jenny Seeman told The Capital, it’s possible the government may have had an ulterior motive.

“There has been some debate about whether the property was purchased by the government with this in mind or whether it was purely to be a naval training establishment,” she said. “Although it isn’t written in any sources that I have seen, it is perfectly possible that [the] King agreed to the use of the Hatley Park site for emergency training ... and at the same time quietly recognized that it was a sound investment for the Canadian government, should they be called upon to house the royal family.”

The article appeared in The Capital.