You’ve probably seen it in the movies...this is your chance to see it for real.
Casa Loma, which is Spanish for “Hill House”, is an exuberant Gothic castle which has featured in a number of blockbuster films including X-Men, Chicago and Cocktail. Complete with grandiose rooms, hidden passages and fireplaces concealing secret compartments, it really is as grand and impressive as it looks from the outside. There are also some beautifully cultivated gardens to stroll around in. All of these factors have come together to make Casa Loma one of the most popular sights in Toronto.
The idea to build an enormous castle in Toronto came from Sir Henry Pellatt, a successful entrepreneur at the turn of the 20th century. Having made his mark as financier of the Toronto Electric Light Company and taken part in a project to construct a hydroelectric plant at Niagara Falls, Pellatt saw his dream home become a reality in 1914. Casa Loma then became a tourist attraction in the late 30s.
Henry Pellatt was well-travelled and it is clear that the design for Casa Loma was heavily influenced by some of the castles he saw in Europe. The luxurious furniture also provides evidence of his globe-trotting tendencies. There are 98 rooms to explore over 3 floors, and you’ll be given an audioguide when you pay the admission fee. There’s also a film about Henry Pellatt that will help to put it all into context.
Among the highlights of the tour are the marble-floored conservatory which is heated to ensure that plants can survive there all year round. Sir Henry Pellatt’s suite on the second floor is terrific, particularly the hidden area behind the fireplace. On the lower level you’ll find a 244-metre-long tunnel leading to the stables and hunting lodge. Once you’ve seen your fill of the house, make sure to have a wander around the gardens.
Casa Loma hosts a number of events throughout the year, including dining and dancing evenings and a Summer Music Series featuring local acts. Take a look at the website for more detailed information.
Casa Loma is 10 minutes from Toronto city centre if you’re driving, or a 10-minute walk from Dupont metro station. Be warned that you’ll have to pay to park here.
Casa Loma is open until early evening every day. It closes early on Christmas Eve, and closes completely on Christmas Day.