Toronto Landmarks: Casa Loma – Toronto’s own castle

Those who aren’t yet familiar with the City of Toronto might be surprised to learn there’s a castle nearby, and those aware of it might be soon wondering why they haven’t visited already.

Sir Henry Pellatt was one of the founders of the Toronto Electric Light Company in 1883. In 1911, after having amassed a hefty fortune, Sir Henry decided to build his dream castle right in what’s now the midtown-area. Casa Loma, which means Hill House, took three years to build and was completed in 1914. It took 300 workers to build Casa Loma, but WWI halted much of the construction. At the time, it was the largest private residence in Canada with 89 rooms.

After Sir Henry died, numerous other owners and business ventures used Casa Loma, including a luxury hotel.

The city came to own Casa Loma in 1933 when it was seized for over $27,000 in back taxes. In 1937, the city decided to open the castle to the public.

The building has five acres of gardens, an elevator and central vacuum, as well as three bowling alleys that were never quite completed. The castle is also complete with secret passages, suites, towers and stables.

Casa Loma has also always been a popular place for movie and television filming, including X-Men, Strange Brew and CBC’s television show Being Erica which features the title character working there.

Casa Loma is open from 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day, closing early on December 24 while being completely closed on December 25. The gardens are open from May to October, and the castle also features a cafe and gift shop. There are guided tours of the castle daily.

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