Hatley Castle blueprints head to Ottawa

Royal Roads University is carefully preparing a collection of blueprints to be shipped to Ottawa's National Gallery of Canada

Denbigh Fine Arts Services art handler Meesoo Lee carefully prepares blueprints of Hatley Castle to be shipped to the National Gallery of Canada in Ottawa for display.

With cloth gloves and a gentle touch, Royal Roads University is carefully preparing a collection of blueprints of Hatley Castle to be shipped to Ottawa’s National Gallery of Canada for an exhibit.

The collection consists of three copies of blueprints of the east, west and water elevation of Hatley Castle and an original blueprint for the Italian garden, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.

All of the documents will be displayed at the National Gallery in Ottawa from Oct. 25 through to Jan. 26, 2014 as a part of its Artists, Architects, Artisans: Canadian Art 1890-1918 display.

“This fits really nicely in that timeframe,” RRU archivist Caroline Posynick said. “(It’s) considered to be an important time in Canadian history, a beautiful time in architecture.”

Canadian architect Samuel Maclure designed the castle starting in 1906 for then Lieutenant Governor James Dunsmuir. Construction began in 1908 and finished 18 months later.

Boston-based landscape architect firm Brett and Hall designed the garden, which has since been a showcase for the castle.

“Dunsmuir wanted something special with the garden,” Posynick said. “Dunsmuir was keen to show his wealth, I suppose, and he was very adamant about getting the best of the best.”

The exact years of the copies are not known, but Posynick believes they are also well dated, potentially from the early 1910s.

Denbigh Fine Art Services, a Vancouver-based art packing and moving company, was brought in to prepare and move the documents, all done very carefully so as not to damage the artifacts.

“It’s wonderful to have this here but to me it’s just as important to give people access and to share that,” Posynick said, “because otherwise it’s just a treasure trove.”