From the Archives: The Cedar building

RRU Cedar building formerly Dunsmuir dairy RRU Archives

Do you recognize the building in the photograph above? I bet you do considering the title of this post! It is indeed the Cedar building, which is the building to the west of the Mews, just before the forest trails. This view is from the west; below is another archival image from the south.

Dunsmuir dairy from the south RRU Archives

This building, which is listed on the Canadian registry of historic buildings associated with Hatley Park, used to be a dairy and cattle barn. James Dunsmuir wished to have a self-sustaining estate, and this dairy was part of that plan. There were about 10 cows, milked by hand, that lived here and grazed the pastures of the site. There was also padding put on some of the doorways to protect the flanks of the cattle as they moved out of the building. 

Once the Dunsmuirs sold Hatley Park and the property became the military college in the early 1940s, the dairy was extensively renovated into engineering classrooms and workshop space. You can see a photo of what that looked like in the RRU Archives database. The building was eventually renamed Cedar and has continued to be used for RRU offices as the site transitioned to our university. Today, the structure is undergoing modernization work to improve the use and reuse of this space.

Do you have any photographs or stories about the Cedar building that you would like to share? Please send an email to or give a call at at 250.391.2600, extension 4122.

Caroline Posynick
RRU Archivist