If you’re a lover of castles, ancient architect, and follow the history from the past then this hidden gem is for you. Located in the city of Toronto is the historic Casa Loma, the only full size castle in North America owned by Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife Mary from 1913 to 1923.
This fascinating castle now serves as a tourist stop with self-guided tours. From it’s Italian marble floors, outdoor lush green gardens to the towers themselves you’ll find it inviting to walk the halls. This 200,000 sq ft. castle overlooks Toronto on the hill top. In the old days it overlooked the peasants.
As I love the history of old castles I couldn’t help but to see what was behind the walls of this beauty. Below we share with you our highlights of our tour to Casa Loma.
Side view of the castle
The castle itself contain 4 levels. The lower level is where you will want to go to pick up your portable audio guide. This handy device will be your guide throughout the castle giving you important information. Put in the number found in each room to the device and press the green button to listen. You can pause, stop or turn up the volume as needed. If you are new to this device like me just ask for help.
I started in the Mezzanine overlooking the beautiful front gardens. First a little about the history of the castle itself. Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife were the original owners who had the castle built. The staircase that was to connect the great hall and second floor never arrived from Scotland during World War 1. Not such a surprise there due to circumstances. After the financial misfortunes of the Pellatt family the castle was converted into a hotel in 1925. The castle contains about 50 old fashion telephones located through. Servant’s who were unmarried woman would work for the Pellatt’s for room & board as well as a small amount of cash. They were houses on the 3rd floor and worked 6 days a week with Sunday’s off for mandatory church.
Front garden from the Mezzanine window
As I entered the 2nd floor of the castle it contains his and her suites, a Round room, Windsor room, and guest room. Each of the rooms for the Pellatt’s contained a bedroom, bathroom, and separate sitting area. Her’s with wedgewood blue walls & white trim, and a bathroom of marble with floral draperies. Sir Henry Pellatt himself a more masculine room of dark woods, wood carved bed, and an ensuite bathroom of lush marble.
Down the hallway sits the Windsor room & Round room as well as another guest room, and stairs to the 3rd floor.
Sir Henry Pellatt’s Room
The bathroom just off the bedroom contained modern fixtures from the 1912 era. The walls & floor covered in Italian marble. The gardens overlooking the city of Toronto from the bathroom window were at that time the “ward” or slums of Toronto.
Sir Henry Pellatt’s bathroom
Sitting area off Mary’s room
The Round Room
Take note the round room is really round. It sits at the base of the tower. The tapestries on the chairs & screen are exquisite originally produce in France. The round room is decorated in 18th century style from Robert Adam a Scottish Architect.
The Garden Terrace
The garden terrace is a wonderful place located off the main floor to sit an have lunch or an afternoon cocktail. There’s plenty of chairs with umbrella to enjoy the beautiful gardens.
Pro tip: The terrace is the best place for outdoor lunch. Located in the lower level is a café with air conditioning.
After lunch take a walk through the giant library enclosed with wood & glass doors. The main floor also has a serving room where the servants would place the food before delivery to the main dining room. The dining room would host all the formal parties and hold up to 100 guests. A small orchestra would be set up to play during dinner parties to entertain the guests.
The Norman tower was closed in 2001 for restoration and reopened in 2016. Don’t miss your chance to take the winding staircase to the tower if you’re able to climb this narrow entrance. The views of the city are magnificent as well you can see on to the tower.
The winding stairs to the towers
Pro tip: The stairs are open & narrow with only one person access at a time
Feeling on top of the tower
Looking from one tower to the next
The Outdoor Gardens
The outdoor gardens have been completely redone as in the 1930’s had been neglected. Some of the original species of plants are used in todays garden. To the right is a spectacular water fountain display and the left side of the yard is a covered area used for outdoor weddings. If you look straight ahead from the garden terrace you can see the CN Tower.
View of the fountain & gardens
View with the CN tower
This is my favorite room of all! Apparently it was the favorite of the Pellatt’s too! What good taste we must have. They loved their gardens and spending time in this light airy room. The bronze doors cost nearly $10,000 each Heating in the room was used with steam pipes. I love the look of the marble floors and feeling of brightness from the many windows. The stained glass window in the ceiling is simply exquisite and the water feature gives a calmness to the room. I could sit here all day, daydreaming, and just being a princess. (Ya probably not the princess type).
The Oak Room
The Oak room I think the most splendor room in the castle used for entertaining important guests. Today it looks a little different from the original seating but still has the beautiful dark stained walls & 19th century bronze candlesticks hanging from the ceiling.
The Oak room
Hand held audio guides are found in the base free with your entrance fee of currently $25 for adults. The audio devices are in different languages as well as the brochures.
Parking at Casa Loma
There is parking located right on the premises for currently a $10 flat rate. This is a great option for those not wishing to walk far. Located around the area are many other parking lots with varying prices, some charging $4 per 2 hours.
This hidden gem in the city is a great activity for those history lovers. You can probably spend about 3-4 hours here depending on if your taking lunch or really interested in all the historical events from the past. There’s a great section in the castle to display all the artifacts & clothing from that area.
Maps courtesy of Casa Loma
As always our thoughts are our own.