Upon Laura Dunsmuir’s death in 1937, she left instructions in her will that the estate and all its contents were to be sold. This was a long and difficult process and the estate was managed in the meantime by a skeleton staff of about 10 people. There was a monthly transfer of $1500 from the estate of Laura Dunsmuir to cover the cost of running Hatley Park. In late May 1939, King George the VI and Queen Elizabeth visited Vancouver and Victoria on the western leg of their cross-Canada tour. They spent a full afternoon at Hatley Park and picnicked on the property. In the following days, June 1-5, a week-long auction for the contents of the house was held and most of the contents were sold off at bargain prices. The catalogue cost 25c to purchase and included admission to the auction held onsite at Hatley Park. Many locals took the opportunity to come and tour the property for the first time rather than make purchases in the auction.
James Dunsmuir’s yacht, Dolaura, was steam driven and about 218 feet from bow to stern and 32 feet across the beam. It was custom-built in Scotland in 1908. The yacht was named after Dola, James’s youngest daughter, and his wife, Laura. This vessel replaced the Thistle, which burned to the waterline in 1907. The Dolaura was magnificent, with lavishly decorated rooms and all the modern comforts. When the Dunsmuirs took possession in Europe, Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany came on board for a tour and his is the first name in the visitors’ book. Dunsmuir family members and friends enjoyed many fishing trips and excursions on the ship while living at Hatley Park. In 1920, the yacht was sold to a lumber and shipping magnate in Midland, Ont., and was renamed Victoria. The yacht changed hands and names many more times and even served as an anti-submarine vessel in the waters off Scotland during the Second World War. It was finally dismantled in the 1950s. Although the Hatley Park estate was sold in 1940 to the Government of Canada, 20 acres of waterfront property adjacent to the Belmont gateway had been gifted to the youngest Dunsmuir daughter, Dola, by her father before he died in 1920. She built a little house there in an English Arts and Crafts style, with hipped roofing, brick walls and tall chimneys. She named the house Dolaura, remembering the family yacht and the many family trips she had taken as a young girl. She had even kept the yacht’s guest book and used it to record visitors to her home.
The Crimson Paradise was a film by Kenneth Bishop. It was filmed in part at Hatley Park and the production was financially supported by Kathleen (Dunsmuir) Humphreys. Filming for the Crimson Paradise began in October 1933 and it opened in theatres just six weeks later, billed as Canada’s first all talking motion picture. Unfortunately, the film was reviewed as a 'real turkey' by the manager of Victoria's Capitol Theatre, where it premiered late at night and only ran for three days. The brochure was created for people attending the premier performance. The centre pages are signed 'To Agnes' in ink by the producer, Kenneth Bishop and the main stars, Lucille Brown and Nick Stuart, as well as Kathleen Dunsmuir. An ink spill visible on most of the pages is attributed to Nick Stuart's pen.