Canadian financier, industrialist, and business visionary Sir Henry Pellatt modeled the Casa Loma castle on the style of art and architecture he came to admire when touring similar castles throughout Europe. Today, the structure endures mainly as a testament to the culture and lifestyle of the Toronto elite during early 20th century. Visitors can tour the grounds on their own or with a group while learning about the family, the Edwardian heritage, and—most importantly—the architecture and history of the landmark castle atop the hill.
The History of Casa Loma
1859: Henry Pellatt was born in Kingston, Ontario
1882–1902: Pellatt became a millionaire by investing in various mining, insurance, land, and electricity prospects
1905: Pellatt was knighted for his military service by the Queen's Own Rifles
1911: Working with Canadian architect E.J. Lennox, Pellatt helped design his dream home—a Medieval-inspired castle
1914–1924: Economic hardships eventually forced Sir Henry and Lady Mary Pellatt to sell Casa Loma
2014: After failed attempts to transform the residence into a hotel, a school, a museum, and an art gallery over the years, Liberty Entertainment Group chose to preserve the historic structure
The Sights of Casa Loma
Self-guided tours of Casa Loma and the surrounding area are available throughout the year. Here are some highlights worth seeing:
Great hall on the main floor: This room serves as a focal point within the castle, complete with 60-foot ceilings and sculpted figures adorning the pillars.
Sir Henry Pellatt's master suite on the second floor: Mahogany and walnut walls keep with the home's luxuriant spirit. This room also features a hidden compartment beside the fireplace where Sir Henry Pellatt would conceal secret documents.
Carriage house and stables: Connected to Casa Loma by an 800-foot tunnel which runs 18 feet below Austin Terrace. The tunnel features an exhibit of Toronto’s dark side, which tells the story in archival photographs of Prohibition, the Depression, the plague, the Great Toronto Fire, and Toronto’s first plane crash. The carriage house features an automotive exhibit featuring vintage automobiles from the early 1900s.
Estate gardens: The 5 acres of lush flora surrounding Casa Loma showcase ornate sculptures and fountains as well as meticulously tended displays of perennials and a wooded hillside filled with wildflowers, ferns, rhododendrons, and decorative grasses.
The Pellatt Newsreel
To deliver more insight into the Pellatt family's optimistic construction and tragic loss of Casa Loma, the castle screens a 22-minute docudrama on the rise and fall of the estate. Narrated by Colin Mochrie, this docudrama adopts the tone of a 1939 newsreel as it tracks Sir Henry's resounding business successes, followed by his gradual financial undoing.
Since 1974, Toronto Zoo has been a Canadian leader in saving and protecting species as Canada’s largest Zoo. Sprawling over 710 acres within the heart of the Rouge Valley, it is home to over 5,000 animals representing more than 450 species. Travel around the world in just a day and visit animals in award-winning habitats such as Africa, Asia, Australia and the Tundra.
Size: Open year-round, one of the largest Zoo’s in the world with over 10 kilometers of walking trails and over 340,000 square feet of indoor tropical pavilions to enjoy the Zoo rain or shine.
Don’t Miss: Home to Canada’s only giant panda cubs, mom Er Shun and Da Mao.
Eye Catchers: Visit polar bear cub Juno in the Tundra Trek, and four white lion cubs in the African Savanna. Plus meet the first born Indian rhino calf in over 16 years at the Toronto Zoo.
Must Sees: Animal keeper talks year-round, the Zoo’s Amazing Animal Show or 2-acre splash pad “Splash Island” this summer.
What to See Under The Sea: With over 100 species of fish throughout the Zoo, explore the Zoo’s Great Barrier Reef exhibit filled with moon jellies and seahorses and more.
When Toronto businessman and philanthropist George R. Gardiner began collecting ceramics in 1976, he was only interested in decorating his home. But soon his passion for pottery and porcelain grew as well as his collection and he co-founded the Gardiner Museum in 1984 with his wife, Helen. Today, the museum's collection has ballooned to include more than 4,000 pieces, encompassing everything from Japanese sake pots and Italian Renaissance maiolica plates, to Canadian contemporary ceramic sculptures.
Objects from the core collection share space in the museum with special exhibitions. The museum supplements its showings with lectures, special workshops, and clay classes for children and adults. Visitors can take home a souvenir from the Gardiner Shop, which sells Canadian ceramics as well as international jewelry, scarves, and glasswork, or stop-by for a lovely lunch at the third floor Terrace Room with stunning views overlooking the city, catered by à la Carte Kitchen Inc.
Ben Navaee Gallery is dedicated to two causes: first, to present and promote local Canadian artists in its gallery space, and second, to raise funds and awareness for philanthropic causes related to poverty, homelessness, and natural disasters. With classes, the gallery aims to educate its visitors, helping them learn about the work of a new artist or teaching them how to paint a heartfelt message onto that artist's car. During each calming session, students leave outside stress behind as they unlock hidden artistic talents with the help of gentle, encouraging instruction. This nurturing environment is an extension of Ben Navaee himself; a veteran painter, sculptor, and photographer, Ben has spent the last 25 years helping students better their lives through art, as well as yoga and meditation.
The Hockey Hall of Fame chronicles the achievements of the sport’s greatest players. Located in Toronto, Ontario you’d be hard pressed to find a dedicated hockey fan who wouldn’t jump at the opportunity to pay them a visit. Established in 1943, the Hockey Hall of Fame is a treasure-trove of ice-hockey memorabilia. Notable items on display here include a host of NHL trophies, the Stanley Cup, and gear of some of the most prolific players in history. The Hall of Fame also recently started featuring cheerful interactive exhibits that allow children and adults alike to experience the excitement of hockey through both sight and sound.
Though there are specific pieces on display at Sevan Art Gallery, the inventory is not limited to what is hanging in the physical gallery. This allows customers to request any piece on the market, which the team at Sevan will then track down and have shipped to the gallery. To supplement their art dealing, staffers offer an on-site framing service. Knowledgeable designers help clients select custom frames and acid-free mats for photos or paintings or build out shadow boxes for three-dimensional items, such as sports memorabilia or the bronzed bust of a deceased cactus.