A few kilometers from the center of Toronto, in the elegant district of Forest Hill, prestigious area of the city where many celebrities of the Canadian jet set live, stands out, among luxurious villas, a mysterious and imposing castle. The only one in the whole country: Casa Loma.
Inaugurated in 1911, this house of ancient forms and modern history was the residence of millionaire financier Sir Henry Pellat. Born in 1859 into a wealthy family, Sir Henry Pellat was a very ambitious young man: at the age of 17 he left his studies at Upper Canada College to devote himself to the family business, a finance company, and at the age of 23 he became partner of family society, but also married his fiancee Mary Dodgeson.
Traveling in Europe he developed a love for art and architecture that led him to have visionary ideas in business as in private life. In fact, in the same year that Thomas Edison developed steam-generated electricity, Sir Henry Pellatt realized that supplying electricity could be extremely profitable. He founded the Toronto Electric Light Company in 1883. By the time he was 30, the Toronto Electric Light Company enjoyed a monopoly on the supply of street lighting to the city of Toronto.
In 1892 his father retired, enabling Sir Henry Pellatt to invest with more risk. By 1901, Sir Henry Pellatt was chairman of 21 companies with interests in mining insurance, land, and electricity. In 1902, he and his partners won the rights to build the first Canadian hydro-generating plant at Niagara Falls. He was knighted in 1905 for his military service with the Queen’s Own Rifles. In 1911, armed with a fortune of $17 million, Sir Pellatt drew up plans with Canadian architect E.J. Lennox to build his dream castle. The land on which he planned to build had been given the name Casa Loma by its previous owner.
Built in Renaissance Gothic style, the castle, of about 18,500 square meters, consists of 98 rooms, two towers and numerous corridors and secret passageways. It took three years, three hundred men and $ 3.5 million to build this impressive castle, now open to tourists as a house-museum. The admission ticket costs 30 dollars. Visitors can admire every room and secret passage in total autonomy, which makes the experience very funny.
Personally, I felt like a princess in a castle of the twenties-thirties. Each room, furnished with rich details, made the idea of the luxurious life that Sir Henry Pellat and his wife led for about ten years before leaving the house due to a financial meltdown. During the visit I suggest you look for all the secret passages, to admire the gardens, open from March to October, and the garages where beautiful vintage cars are kept.
How to get to Casa Loma:
The cheapest way to reach Casa Loma is to use the metro: the nearest station to the castle is Dupont Station, to get there you need to take the yellow Yonge-University metro line.