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Royal Roads University Greenhouse Restoration Project - Victoria, BC, Canada

Designed by Lord & Burnham Co 1914


Hatley Park National Historic Site is located in Victoria, British Columbia and home to Royal Roads University. This 640 acre site is the former estate of James Dunsmuir. It includes Hatley Castle, 10 formal gardens, and a greenhouse that was constructed in 1914.

Designed by Lord & Burnham Co. the greenhouse holds special significance, as it is the only building at Hatley Park National Historic Site that has been used continually for its originally intended purpose: the propagation and growing of plants.  To ensure the greenhouse remains capable of serving this role for many years to come, Royal Roads University has initiated a project to restore and remediate this historical asset.

Vintage Woodworks was selected from eight firms in North America who are consider capable of performing the work necessary to preserve and restore this prized Lord and Burnham greenhouse.

History of the Site
Hatley Park National Historic Site of Canada is home to Royal Roads University (RRU). Located in Victoria, British Columbia, 20 minutes from the heart of downtown, this 565-acre property is an exquisite example of Canada’s history. The site in its original state was designed as an Edwardian estate with Hatley Castle, 10 formal gardens, a Lord and Burnham greenhouse and a conservatory. The surrounding land includes protected old-growth forests and rare ecosystems, and offers spectacular vistas that overlook the Esquimalt Lagoon and the Juan de Fuca Strait across to the Olympic mountains of Washington state. It is a truly unique example of Canada’s natural and cultural heritage. The estate was originally owned by the Honourable James Dunsmuir, premier of British Columbia in 1900. He built Hatley Castle as a retirement home in 1908 and the cultural landscape was carefully designed to include formal gardens, recreational, agricultural and forested areas so that both Mr. Dunsmuir’s love of hunting and fishing could
be enjoyed on the property, as well as Mrs. Dunsmuir’s passion for gardening and entertaining could also be enjoyed.
In 1937, the Canadian Government purchased the Hatley Park Estate and thein1940, opened a naval training school. In 1947 Royal Roads Military College, a tri-service college with training programs for the army, Navy and air force, launched their first program. Hatley Park remained the site for military training until 1995 when the Department of National Defence (DND) consolidated their defence education facilities and leased the property to the newly created, RRU.
RRU is Canada’s only public university that offers programs exclusively in applied and professional fields of studies to British Columbians, Canadians, and international learners. Renowned for its educational excellence as a special-purpose institution, RRU focuses on the needs of mid-career professionals who want to advance, renew, re-start, or change their careers. The University’s unique niche is to provide programs oriented to learning, adapted in ways that meet an ever-changing workplace. In 2000, the Hatley Park Estate was declared a National Historic Site (NHS).

The Lord and Burnham Greenhouse
The greenhouse is one of the original structures of Hatley Park, constructed in 1914. Designed by Lord & Burnham Co. this building holds special significance, as it is the only building at Hatley Park National Historic Site that has been used continually for its originally intended purpose – the propagation and growing of plants.
Adjacent to the greenhouse is the footprint of the former Conservatory, an exquisite building that regrettably was not maintained during the DND era thus lost to the elements; only the stories remain. The greenhouse, however, had weathered the years and with minimal maintenance has survived. In 2002, an assessment of the greenhouse and the adjacent gardeners' head house identified that these heritage assets were in serious jeopardy. A restoration project would be required to secure their future. RRU, as stewards of Hatley Park NHS, on behalf of the people of Canada, has elected to restore the greenhouse and header house. It is an exciting project that will protect the heritage of this unique asset that is an integral asset to the agricultural zone of the property – one which provides a historical link to the gardening traditions of the Dunsmuirs’, Royal Roads Military College, and Royals Roads University. Preserving the greenhouse will also enable the university to use this facility for three primary purposes: (1) to continue and expand the plant propagation activities; (2) welcome small groups of tourists through the greenhouse to learn about the history of the site and the Dunsmuir’s passion for gardening, and (3) to enable small groups of horticultural students to engage in a variety of learning activities.

Before restoration by Vintage Woodworks Inc. After restoration

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