House on the hill: Casa Loma, Toronto

Casa Loma (Spanish translating to ‘Hill House’) is a prominent mansion and garden located in midtown Toronto, situated at an elevation of 140 metres above sea level. It was constructed between 1911 and 1914 as a residence for financier and founder of the Toronto Electric Light Company, Sir Henry Pellatt. Designed by architect E.J. Lennox, its unique character has made it a historic landmark representative of Gothic Revival style.

The house cost approximately $3.5 million and 299 workers to build, until construction was halted by the start of World War I. Encompassing 98 rooms covering nearly 65,000 square feet, it became the largest private residence in Canada.

Notable amenities included an elevator, an oven large enough to cook an ox, two vertical passages for pipe organs, a pool, three bowling alleys, and two secret passages in the ground floor office. Spanning three stories, the third floor was left largely unfinished, and today serves as the Regimental Museum for The Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.

Due to financial difficulties suffered during the post-war depression, Pellatt resided in Casa Loma for less than a decade, until 1923. In the 1920s, it operated briefly as a luxury hotel, becoming a popular evening hot spot for wealthy Americans during Prohibition. It was eventually seized by the city for unpaid taxes, and nowadays has become a museum and tourist attraction that hosts a number of seasonal events, such as the Legends of Horror haunted house at Halloween, and the summertime Symphony in the Gardens concert series.

We spent a couple hours during a gloomy weekend afternoon exploring Casa Loma. Admission was $30 per person, granting access through the estate, including the Secret Garden; the underground tunnels; and the towers, where we could admire sweeping views overlooking the city.

32 responses to “House on the hill: Casa Loma, Toronto”

  1. Looks like a fun castle to explore! Love your pictures!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. What a beautiful and impressive mansion! I love touring historical homes and absolutely love the architecture and the interior.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely an impressive home. Thanks for reading!

      Like

  3. … was first there many years ago…thanks for the tour

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nice post on Casa Loma, a curious pastiche of a European castle in the middle of Toronto. Your photos show perfectly well how its interior illustrates the opulence of the affluent class lifestyle at that time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting indeed to observe the lifestyle of excess. Apparently this home had 50+ telephones when the entire city of Toronto had only 200 installed.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. How gorgeous. I desperately want to go up into the tower.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Quite a few tight staircases to get up there but it was worthwhile for the view from the top!

      Like

  6. Wow, I wouldn’t have expected such a distinctively-European structure in Toronto! Love the Gothic details in the walls: there appears to be a somber atmosphere to it, perhaps a haunted one. I’m sure it’d make for a fun adventure when Halloween comes around! I appreciate you sharing this lovely gem. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They were actually already setting up for their annual Halloween event (Legends of Horror) so we got to see some of that when we went through the garden and tunnels. Spooky 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  7. It’s really nice, I went here on my first trip to Toronto. I don’t remember the dungeons, but I do remember the views.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is a cool place, can’t believe I never made it there in all my years of growing up in Toronto.

      Like

  8. wow what a place! I would love to explore it!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was a fun way to spend a couple hours for sure.

      Like

  9. cocktailsandcarryonsnet Avatar
    cocktailsandcarryonsnet

    Such a beautiful gallery of shots! This looks like a fun location to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It was! Thanks for reading 🙂

      Like

  10. I’ve never heard of this place. I’ll definitely need to check it out whenever I get back to Toronto!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s worth a visit. It was my first time there despite being a Toronto resident all my life!

      Liked by 1 person

  11. The architecture is so weird… It seems so fun to explore this castle ! Love it 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  12. This was a fun place to visit in Toronto! You forgot to mention all the films that have used this location 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right, I totally forgot to mention that! There are quite a few, most recently the Handmaid’s Tale tv series.

      Like

  13. Wow!! Just wow!!
    Hey!! You really have a great content ….Kindly visit my blog too just shifted to wordpress …https://minalspicrworld.com

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Fascinating place! Love the old automobile collection. Not so much some of the interior design elements.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The interior design does not appeal to me either, but as Lookoom commented above, it’s an interesting reflection of affluent class lifestyle at that time. Fascinating place to explore indeed!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. It was probably the third bowling alley that broke the bank. I can see having two bowling alleys in your house, but three seems like overkill… As it happens, we’re in the middle of installing our second bowling alley, so thank you for this post. I’ve learned my lesson. This shall be out last bowling alley.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hehehe, you are actually right. According to Wikipedia, they never managed to finish the last two bowling alleys so it did (at least in part) push them past the edge of fiscal responsibility. I wonder how many bowling shoes they owned…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Wow stunning mansion with quite a story! Love the photos, hope you had a great time there! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. […] Instead of walking down the black sand beaches of Iceland or exploring the Scottish highlands, we spent our spring and summer at home in Toronto. We occupied several weekend afternoons on the Islands; took walks along the waterfront; cooked many Goodfood meals; and explored some local attractions we had never visited, like Allan Gardens and Casa Loma. […]

    Like

  18. […] facility for bricks that were used to construct many well-known Toronto landmarks, including Casa Loma, Osgoode Hall, Massey Hall, and the Ontario […]

    Like

Leave a Reply to Coral Waight Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.