A Tree collection For the AGes
It was a fine October day in 2021 when I last visited the Hatley Park Estate at the Royal Roads University. This National Historic Site, located in Greater Victoria, B.C., consists of 650 acres that wraps around the exquisite Hatley Castle. This Elizabethan style mansion was built for James Dunsmuir, a coal industrialist, in 1908. Since 1995, the castle and the estate has been the home of Royal Roads University. In the 1940’s to 1995, it was a military college. Today, the castle and surrounding grounds are a popular tourist attraction, and rightfully so. It is one of my favorite places to visit when I go to Victoria.
It’s not just the jaw-dropping castle that lures tourists and locals alike, it the vast surrounding grounds of Hatley Park. There’s the formal Italian Garden, the Perennial Garden, the Japanese and Rose Garden, but if it’s trees you’re interested in, then this is the place for you.
The estate has bragging rights to a huge 250-year-old Douglas fir, but there are many other splendid trees including ones that are very old and have a presence all their own. I imagine some of them must have been planted when the castle was built or shortly thereafter as they are immense. Benches look like toys underneath their far-spreading canopies. Tree trunks are gnarled, twisted and crusty with aged bark that must have seen generations walk by and provided shelter from sun and rain. To learn more click on hatleycastle.com