Home > JARDINS > Majestic Hatley Park

Majestic Hatley Park

The greatest gift of the garden is the restoration of the five senses.  ~Hanna Rion


Dear Friends,

Welcome! The teapot’s on!  I’m thrilled you’re visiting with me today.  It has been awhile.  I haven’t had much time for blogging lately. I find that for me, it does seem to take a lot of time, and there are so many other demands of life at the moment, but that’s for another day.  For now, I am glad to be here in the present, slowing a little and enjoying spending time with you.

Can it be that Spring is really just around the corner? We still have much snow, although it is beginning to warm here. To see sunshine and hear birdsong will make things alright. 

Since everyone is sharing garden dreams these days, I assembled a  photo collage to share with you of beautiful Hatley Park, a National Historic Site nestled on the Southern tip of Vancouver Island in Colford, a mere 25 minutes from downtown Victoria, British Columbia.  I was at The Empress Hotel in Victoria for a work conference last May and stayed an extra week to enjoy some touring. Living on Canada’s East Coast, on the island of Newfoundland in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean, I could not imagine flying clear across the country for 7 hours, plus 4 hours of stopovers each way, from the East Coast to the West Coast, without seeing some of the glorious B.C. gardens that I had been reading about in my favourite magazines for so many years.


PHOTO: The celebrated Empress Hotel in Victoria on Vancouver Island is famous for its turn-of-the century architecture and supreme harbour location. Built between 1904 and 1908, The Empress is an icon in its own right and has been designated a National Historic Site.  Perhaps one of its most captivating features is the veil of ivy that covers the face of this old hotel.

My hubby joined me on the trip and we set out on the renowned Garden Trail to see as many gardens as possible in the brief time we were there.  Hatley Park was one of those magnificent gardens.  The gardens surround B.C.’s Royal Roads University.  The park grounds are open daily to the public for a modest fee but students of the University enjoy free access to the gardens.  Can you imagine a more inspiring setting in which to study?

It’s time for another walk in the park!  Won’t you come along?


A footbridge within the quiet beauty of the Japanese garden leads us into a magical setting of perfect quietude.  I could have just stayed here for hours and not have ventured any further along the trail…(If you’d prefer a winter’s walk, take a side trip here in my home city).



The 565 acres of gardens of Royal Roads University include a Japanese Garden (photos above), Rose Garden and Italian Garden (photos below).  The Italian garden is my favourite with frothy wisteria dripping over the garden’s ornate structures and entryways.




I love the pretty statuary of the Italian garden and the glorious pink roses that scramble wildly upwards over the castle walls.  I do love pink!




The castle is named Hatley Castle built by The Honourable James Dunsmuir who was a coal baron and prominent businessman in British Columbia in the late 1800’s.  He was elected Premier  in 1900. After just two short years, he realized that he had no desire for public life and resigned in 1902. In later years, he served as Lieutenant Governor of the province. In 1908, Dunsmuir built impressive Hatley Castle set amidst spectacular formal landscapes and embraced by B.C. forest and expansive Pacific Ocean views.




Hatley Castle is now a classified Federal Heritage Building and is a popular site for weddings,  special events, conferences, even motion picture filming and the buzz of late – experiential travel.  Have you heard of it?  Experiential travel is based more on real-life experiences than star-rated amenities and popular tourist attractions.  Volunteering, immersing in cultural activities, trying new or exotic foods, even harvesting and cooking your own food – connecting with people where they live and experiencing everyday life – are what makes experiential travel so compelling and unique.


What struck me most about Hatley Park is the abundance, diversity and significance of the trees, including 250-year old Douglas firs that are said to be among the largest in the area. We had never seen anything like them and were awestruck by their lush beauty and colossal size. I stood under the enormous cedars letting their branches sweep over my face!  I felt like a wee girl enchanted in a fairytale wonderland, dwarfed by their sheer  majesty.   





A picture is worth a thousand words. An entire photo album follows; you can do the math! 🙂  I hope you will get a feel for the grandeur, tranquil  and reverent spirit of these winsome gardens.  And, won’t you have some Japanese Cherry tea while you’re browsing?  As you probably already know, it’s my favourite.  My niece Janell gave me these sweet china cups many years ago.  I love to sip from them while I dream of faraway places and their masterpiece gardens…


Online tea source:  The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf

Thank you for taking time to stop by and for leaving such lovely comments.  I always look forward to hearing from you and am like a kid at Christmastime when I see your notes in my Inbox! Lol  You just make my day. I hope to see you again soon. EnJOY your garden dreams! And, since there is so much green in this post, Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Wishing you a beautiful day,



  1. Patty
    2013/03/06 at 11:17 pm

    Hatley Castle is one of our favourite gardens to visit – we try to get there every other year as we live in Nanaimo. It is truly a special place, thanks for sharing your lovely pictures. So happy to hear you had a chance to see it and hopefully a bit more of Victoria.

    • 2013/03/06 at 11:32 pm

      Hi Patty!
      Yes, we LOVED Victoria and got to see Butchart Gardens (enjoyed the afternoon tea), Horticultural Centre of the Pacific (Glendale Gardens), Butterfly Gardens and Abkhazi Gardens. And, we took the BC Ferry to Salt Spring Island to experience the artisan market! Beautiful! You live in a spectacular part of the country, my friend. I hope we will have an opportunity to make a return visit one day. Thanks so much for taking the time to visit again.

  2. Pondside
    2013/03/07 at 3:27 am

    It is, indeed, a beautiful place, and only about 10 minutes from us. My husband went to Royal Roads when it was Royal Roads Military College. I love to visit the gardens at all times of year.

  3. ehickey
    2013/03/07 at 1:54 pm

    Lovely, Linda!!

  4. 2013/03/07 at 10:08 pm

    Beautiful photographs!!! Love castles and garden trips, too! Stop over:)

  5. 2013/03/07 at 11:02 pm

    So many great photos and what incredible gardens – wisteria being so unbelieveable!
    Just lovely!

    • 2013/03/11 at 10:34 pm

      Hi Bernideen,
      Wisteria is a favourite. I’m so glad you enjoyed the photos of it.
      Thank you for your lovely comments.

  6. 2013/03/07 at 11:02 pm

    I forgot to say – thanks for linking to “Open House”. This is a beautiful post!

  7. 2013/03/08 at 9:12 pm

    Hello Linda!!
    I must say, GORGEOUS photos!! I’m in love with these gardens and felt as if I had a personal tour!! And my feet don’t hurt! I can’t get over the beauty from just the FIRST photo! The trees, the flowers, the beauty of the stones on the castle…all were lovely. I’m so excited that you shared your visit with us for my party!! And I do hope that you will have a cup of lovely Japanese Cherry tea (oh, I bet that smells lovely) and remember that trip. You have done a splendid job at making it seem like I was there!!

  8. 2013/03/09 at 4:16 am

    You’ve brought back lovely memories! Thank you for sharing and inspiring…and sharing ‘cherrytea’ with me couldn’t be more perfect! 🙂
    From one Canadian to another…HapPy PS!

  9. 2013/03/09 at 7:06 am

    Wonderful pictures from a wonderful place on earth! Never been there, but now I want to!

  10. 2013/03/10 at 6:53 pm

    Hello, Linda

    You’ve shown such a magnificent garden through your photographs. I’m starting to wonder why my travels still haven’t taken me to British Columbia. It’s been lovely to walk through this garden with you and imagine what it would be like to live in place with grounds like this…and a large staff to care for it all, of course. I’m so pleased that you discovered “Sunlit Sunday” and have shared Hatley Garden. Please excuse me as I head out to take a walk over the beautiful wooden bridge.


  11. 2013/03/10 at 8:05 pm

    Hello Linda,
    Oh my, those gardens are simply spectacular! We have never made it to Victoria but have been to Vancouver several times. How beautiful those gardens are. It must seem like a little piece of heaven to walk around in there among such lushness. Thank you for sharing with us at my HOME and I wish you a delightful week, my friend.


  12. 2013/03/10 at 9:46 pm

    Hi Linda,
    That is so beautiful!! It must have been a joy to visit there.
    Thank you for taking us along.

  13. 2013/03/10 at 11:00 pm

    Thank you for the virtual tour. We have planned vacations to Victoria several times, but something has gotten in the way. I think we need to get there soon.

  14. yarlett gebarowski
    2013/03/11 at 1:30 am

    I love your blog. You always have the most beautiful photos. I first saw your Christmas Open House ones and they took my breath away. Keep up the good work. You have a real talent for decorating. Thank you for letting us see these beautiful images.

    • 2013/03/11 at 10:38 pm

      Welcome Yarlette!
      It is so very nice of you to say such nice things about my blog! It always makes my day to know that someone is reading and enJOYing! I appreciate your saying so and taking the time to visit here every now and then.

  15. yarlette gebarowski
    2013/03/11 at 1:40 am

    I would love to visit the gardens some day. What a lovely place.

  16. 2013/03/11 at 10:48 am

    WOW! I have not heard of Hatley Gardens before but it certainly is worth visiting. Thank you for sharing your beautiful photos of the gardens, grounds and castle. We are going to BC this summer and I’d love to get to Vancouver Island and visit these gardens and the Butchart Gardens, too. Have a great week!

    • 2013/03/11 at 10:30 pm

      Watch for a post in the coming weeks on Butchart Gardens. It is truly beautiful there – a masterpiece!

  17. Caroly Walsh
    2013/03/11 at 11:42 am

    As usual, Linda, your pictures are just spectacular!

  18. 2013/03/12 at 7:53 am

    What a wonderful garden! Thanks for taking us along!

  19. suzanne condon
    2013/03/12 at 8:22 am

    Beautiful photos, Linda!!!

  20. 2013/03/12 at 1:03 pm

    Linda, your photos are fabulous. I have the matching teacups and plates to that pretty teapot. Lovely china! Thank you for sharing and coming to tea.


  21. 2013/03/12 at 11:35 pm

    Hi Linda. So glad to see Hatley…I have heard of it but haven’t visited, but I think it just jumped the queue because of your lovely photos! Thanks for linking to Tuesday Cuppa Tea!

  22. 2013/03/12 at 11:38 pm

    Oh, Linda your photos are fabulous. I will be featuring this post on our blog this week. My hubby and I were just there last July celebrating our 10th Wedding Anniversary. We stayed at The Empress Hotel and loved every minute of it. 11 years ago, I presented at a science conference at Royal Roads University and that is how I met the love of my life. It’s truly a magical place. Thank you so much for sharing the magic!


    • 2013/03/13 at 12:58 pm

      Wow! I am getting goosebumps, Paula! That is so wonderful to hear and Thank You for featuring my post on Ivy and Elephants. You made my day! Stay tuned soon for a post on The Empress. I’ve already been working on it…

  23. 2013/03/13 at 8:07 am

    An incredibly beautiful garden! Thank you so much for sharing!

  24. 2013/03/13 at 12:41 pm

    How fun to see all these posts of Hatley Castle and its gardens. They brought back happy memories of our daughter’s wedding – she had her photos done there in the Italian Garden. We’ve toured the house and gardens several times – we live about 15 minutes away. I see from your comments on another comment that you also visited Butchart Gardens (I did a post on that just this week – it looks different in early March), and Butterfly and Abkhazi Gardens, too. You really saw a lot while you were here. Good for you. I hope spring is just around the corner in Newfoundland.

    • 2013/03/13 at 8:32 pm

      Thanks, Lorrie. We even managed to tour Salt Spring Island. That, too, was an awesome treat, even the ferry ride. I am hoping to do a post and share pics of there as well. So much to share and so little time…Lol I’m glad you stopped by and were able to reminisce about such a special occasion. What a glorious place for a wedding celebration in the Italian Garden of Hatley Park! Sigh.

  25. 2013/03/13 at 12:42 pm

    Oops, that should be photos of Hatley Castle, not posts.

  26. 2013/03/13 at 3:53 pm

    Dear Linda,
    Ohh, the gardens and the castle is beautiful! I would love to visit Hatley Park! Beautiful photos. I will have to see if I can find some of your tea. The flavor sounds delicious. Your teacups are beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  27. 2013/03/14 at 10:36 am

    Beautiful! Thank you for sharing your trip to the gardens with us! I love looking at all the gorgeous images. The tea cups and tea pot are so pretty! Thank you for joining in Tea Cup Tuesday!

  28. 2013/03/14 at 12:46 pm

    What a perfectly magical post- your photography is just beautiful. Now I have another place to add to my must-visit- someday list. I’m visiting from Bernideen’s party 🙂

  29. 2013/03/22 at 9:13 pm

    Wow! Thank you for sharing all this loveliness. Being there in person must have been magical…just wow! I so enjoyed perusing these photos!!!

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