Toronto's Top 10 : Casa Loma

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This medieval-style castle, completed in 1914 for a staggering $3.5 million, looms on a hill, overlooking downtown. Designed by famed Toronto architect E. J. Lennox , Casa Loma — Spanish for “house on the hill” — was the estate of prominent financier and industrialist Sir Henry Pellatt, who was forced by financial ruin to abandon his 98-room dream home less than 10 years after it was built.

  • 1 Austin Terrace

  • 416 923 1171


  • Open daily 9:30am–5pm (last admittance 4pm); closed Dec 25 & Jan 1

  • Adm: $16 adults; $10 senior citizens and students; $8.75 children aged 4–13

First in Luxury

As founder of the Toronto Electric Light Company, Sir Henry Pellatt brought electric power to the city, so it is not surprising that his home featured innovations that enhanced comfort on a scale never before seen in a Canadian home. Then-modern conveniences include an electric lighting system controlled from a panel in Sir Henry’s bedroom, a central vacuuming system, forced-air heating, and the city’s first electric elevator in a private home.

Façade detail

A Druxy’s Famous Deli, known for its smoked meat sandwiches, is on the lower level.

Wander the castle on your own self-guided audio tour, available at no charge in eight languages.

The colorful estate gardens are open May–Oct, with daily tours (2pm) Jul–Aug.

Top 10 Features
  1. Tunnel

    Hidden 18 ft (5.5 m) below ground, an 800-ft (240-m) tunnel connects the castle to the carriage house and stables, where Sir Pellatt’s horses were kept in grand style: mahogany stalls and floors of Spanish tile were laid in a herringbone pattern to prevent the horses from slipping.

  2. Great Hall

    The grand entrance hall, with its 60-ft- (18-m-) high ceiling, sets the castle’s tone of splendor. Gargoyles grin down on visitors from the pillars. Audio guide tapes are available here.

  3. Oak Room

    It took artisans three years to carve the magnificent French oak paneling in this stately drawing room. The ceiling’s lavish plaster moldings conceal indirect lighting – the first time this type of lighting was used in a Canadian home.

  4. Sir Henry’s Study

    Look closely at the wood panels by the fireplace – they conceal two secret passages. The one to the right gave Sir Henry quick passage to the wine cellar, and his huge wine collection. Climb the one to the left and you’ll reach the second floor, near his bedroom suite.

  5. Sir Henry’s Bathroom

    Heavy on hedonistic comfort, the shower was designed to completely surround the body with sprays of water from above and from the sides, with six large taps controlling three levels of pipes. The walls are made of Carrara marble imported from Italy.

  6. Conservatory

    Magnificent bronze and glass doors, each costing $10,000, are reproductions of a set made for an Italian villa. The intricate stained-glass ceiling dome, from Italy, was originally backlit by 600 light bulbs so that it glowed at night. Beneath the conservatory lies a swimming pool that was never completed.

  7. Towers

    Stunning views reward those not afraid of heights. The east tower is based on Scottish castle design; climb to the top and survey the property from its highest perch. The west tower, of Norman design, offers a breathtaking view of the city.

  8. Gardens

    Lavish gardens, punctuated by sculptures and fountains, grace the estate with bloom during the growing season. Eight themed areas range from formal rose beds to woodland with luscious spring wildflowers. Don’t miss the restored Potting Shed, its photo display chronicling the original gardens.

  9. Library

    Stripes of light and dark wood in the herringbone oak floor create an optical illusion of different shadings from each end of the room. The elaborate plaster ceiling decoration features portrait busts and the family’s coats of arms.

  10. Round Room

    With doors and windows custom-bowed to align with the curved walls, this room is furnished with period pieces. Sir Pellatt’s suite of ornately carved Louis XV chairs and folding screen are upholstered in rare French tapestry.

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