Those visiting Toronto, Canada, who have an interest in history and architecture should make a visit to Casa Loma. Literally meaning “house on a hill,” Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival-style castle that is now a museum and landmark allowing visitors a glimpse into 20th-century Toronto.
Built between 1911 and 1914 by well-known Canadian financier, industrialist and military officer Sir Henry Pellat, it took $3.5 million and over 300 laborers to complete the project. After only 10 years of ownership, however, Pellat endured financial hardship and was forced abandon Casa Loma. Eventually, it was restored by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma and opened as a tourist attraction in 1937.
Today, visitors can tour the Casa Loma Castle and its 98 rooms and four floors, with free audio tours available for those interested. While the outside features Elizabethan-style chimneys and Rhineland turrets, the inside allows you to admire the imperial Great Hall with its high-ceilings and Coronation Chair replica, the stately Oak Room and the Conservatory with its grand Italian chandelier and ornate touches. Wander through the wine cellar with about 1800 bottles of wine and Champagne on the lower level, the library on the main floor, Sir Henry Pellatt and Lady Pellat’s suites and bathrooms on the second floor and the Queen’s Own Rifles Museum on the third floor. Moreover, secret passageways, underground tunnels and stables once used by the government to conduct underground WWI anti-U-boat technology research give the building a mysterious and exciting ambiance. We also recommend going up into the towers for sweeping views of downtown Toronto.
From May through October, visitors can stroll through the elegant onsite gardens. Wildflowers, flowering shrubs, perennials, trees, vibrant foliage and roses help to create a beautiful atmosphere to explore, with guided tours available for those interested.
For the television and film buffs, you’ll be interested to know Casa Loma has appeared in many television shows, commercials and movies. Some notable titled include “X-Men,” “National Lampoon,” “Extreme Measures” and “54,” to name a few.
Casa Loma is open daily from 9:30am to 5pm. They close at 1pm on Christmas Eve and are closed Christmas Day.