One of North America’s most famous castles sits right in the center of Toronto, and it’s quite an extravagant place.
Gorgeous castles exist all over the world, although few people expect to find one in the middle of Toronto. This dense city has a lot to offer potential tourists and for anyone visiting, Casa Loma should be on the itinerary. This castle has a pretty wild history behind it and the interchangeable exhibits alone are worth a visit.
If that doesn’t convince travelers to add this stone-faced stop to their list, then perhaps the fact that it’s Toronto’s most prestigious location could. Still not convinced? In this case, there are a few other things to know about this great castle that might be worth a look.
Centuries old, or just looking like it?
From the outside, this castle seems to date back at least to the 18th century. The Neo-Gothic period began around 1740 and although Casa Loma is depicted in this style, it was not built until two centuries later. The first stone was laid in 1914 and was designed by a man named Sir Henry Pellatt. Pellatt left college to work with his father in the family brokerage business, becoming a full partner of the firm at the age of just twenty-three. Ambition was clearly no stranger to the Pellatt family, as their motto was “Devant Si Je Puis”, which means “In the foreground if I can”.
At the age of only twenty, Pellatt had met his future wife, Mary Dodgeson, who also became his wife three years later. By the time they got married, Pellatt had already traveled to Europe and was fascinated by the beautiful architecture that could be found in every historic city. This is what inspired the found castle in downtown Toronto, Casa Loma – “House on the Hill” – as well as its involvement with the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada.
What is it like to visit the castle today
Casa Loma has been voted Toronto’s best castle year after year, and it’s easy to see why. Nothing has been retained in its construction, from the materials used to every individual detail inside and outside of the structure itself. Just being in the presence of such a monolith is quite an experience, and it’s hard to believe that it was only built a little over a century ago instead of three.
Each year, the castle welcomes around 650,000 visitors, as well as weddings and various other events. Casa Loma has been the setting for various film and photo shoots, so if this sounds familiar to you, it’s probably because it was featured in a movie or TV show. Now the castle is owned by the city of Toronto and is open to visitors for a regular visit.
What customers will see when they visit
The exhibits are all part of what makes Casa Loma such an amazing experience. There are several different parts of the museum that can be explored, each with unique artefacts that are original to the castle as well as from the time. One of the castle’s most enchanting exhibits is The Rooms. On this tour, guests will be able to explore the entire estate as they walk through the rooms where the Pellatt family spent much of their lives. Each room has been decorated and adorned with the finest Edwardian designs, creating a surreal experience similar to the 18th century.
The second exhibit is The Dark Side Tunnel, which takes visitors through the castle’s underground passages to the stables and shed. Throughout their journey through the tunnel, visitors have the chance to read about Toronto’s Dark Side, which details dark days in Toronto history, including sections on the plague, depression, the great Toronto fire. and the city’s first plane crash.
At the garage and shed, customers have the chance to see displays of vintage cars that are faithful to the time. The models date back to the early 1900s and include brief histories of the makes and models of cars.
On the third floor of Casa Loma you will find the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Museum. This is dedicated to the queen’s oldest infantry regiment and details its history from 1866 to today. While in command of the Queen’s Own Rifles, Pellatt was incredibly generous in his support, a story that can also be found in this museum.
The last two exhibits are the Hollywood Film Gallery, which details Casa Loma’s cinematic history over the past 30 years. The Group of Seven Collection is a collection of artwork that was purchased by Casa Loma from 1920 to 1933. The makers of the artwork were known as the Group of Seven and believed in true art through nature, especially landscape paintings.
- General admission: $ 30 for adults, $ 25 for seniors (65+), $ 25 for youth (14-17) and $ 20 for children (4-13)
- Business hours: Wednesday – Sunday, 9:30 am – 5:00 pm; the last admission is at 4:30 p.m.
- Documentary viewing and entrance audio guide are included in the tour price
- Library café and gift shop are open, but the Terrace Grill is seasonal
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