Royal Roads University is a public university with its main campus in Colwood, British Columbia. It is located on the grounds of the former Royal Roads Military College (RRMC) at Hatley Park National Historic Site on Vancouver Island. Following the decommissioning of RRMC in 1995, the government of British Columbia created Royal Roads University as a public university with an applied and professional degree-granting focus.Royal Roads University maintains strong ties with the Canadian Forces and considers alumni of RRMC to be part of its broader alumni community. Royal Roads University has now graduated over 20,000 students in the fields of leadership, business, environment, communication, tourism, hospitality and social justice who are working in over 60 countries around the world.
The university’s main building, Hatley Castle, was completed in 1908 for coal and rail baron James Dunsmuir, who was Premier of British Columbia and then Lieutenant Governor during the first decade of the 1900s. At the outbreak of World War II, plans were made for King George VI, his wife Queen Elizabeth, and their two daughters, Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret, to reside in Canada. Hatley Castle was purchased by the federal government in 1940 for use as the King’s royal palace, but it was decided that having the Royal Family leave the UK at a time of war would be too big a blow to morale, and the family stayed in London.
After the death of Dunsmuir and then his widow Laura, the family sold the estate to the federal government in 1940 to be used by the military. HMCS Royal Roads (named after an offshore naval anchorage) was commissioned in December 1940 to train reserve officers for service in World War II. The institution had several names before it eventually became Royal Roads Military College in 1968 (achieving full degree-granting status in 1975).