My first stop in Toronto was at Casa Loma, the castle estate of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, a Toronto financier and industrialist. It was completed by architect E. J. Lennox in 1914 and cost $3.5 million at that time. I can only imagine what it would cost today. Pellatt lived in the house for 10 years until he went bankrupt.
Casa Loma has 98 rooms with 64,700 ft². After being used as a luxury hotel, a popular nightclub for Americans during Prohibition, and a secret government research center during World War II, the city of Toronto completed a 15 year long restoration project in 2012.
Adult admission to Casa Loma costs CAD$25 (as of September 2016). An audioguide is included in the admission price. If driving, there’s a paid parking lot for a flat fee of CAD$10.
I started my tour of the mansion on the main floor. The first room I entered was the Great Hall. It features a 60′ high ceiling and a Wurlitzer organ.
Attached is the Oak Room, which served as Sir Pellatt’s study. Along with the fine furnishings, there are secret doors on both sides of the fireplace. They’re hidden with mahogany panels.
From there, I visited the Library, Dining Room, and Conservatory. The Library features Sir Pellatt’s coat of arms on the ceiling while the Conservatory was fitted with steam pipes to keep flower beds warm in the winter.
The Serving Room was used as a breakfast room. It contains original furniture owned by Sir Pellatt.
From there, I went up to the second floor. I was able to see the main living quarters of the Pellatts, starting with one of the guest rooms and followed by Lady Pellatt’s Suite.
Sir Pellatt’s Suite had a secret storage area next to the fireplace to hide important documents. His attached bathroom has a shower fitted with six tapes controlling three levels of pipes to completely cover the body with water.
There are two more rooms on the second floor. The first is the Round Room, which fits in the space under the tower. The second is the Windsor Room, in which Sir Pellatt had hoped to host the Royal Family one day.
Before heading up to the third floor, I popped into the Pellatt Board Room.
The third floor is largely unfinished. There’s a typical servant’s room and the Queen’s Own Rifles Museum, which was originally located in Calgary. It was moved to Casa Loma because Sir Pellatt served in the Queen’s Own Rifles regiment in the 1870s and was knighted for his service in 1905.
The third floor also provides access to the towers, from which there are good views of the Toronto skyline and CN Tower.
The garden takes up five acres and features several perennial flowers, fountains, and sculptures.
In the lower level of the house, there’s a gift shop, a café, and a tunnel leading to the stables, potting shed, and a garage filled with antique cars.