Casa Loma (Spanish for Hill House) is a
Gothic Revival style house and
gardens in midtown Toronto, Ontario, Canada, that is now a museum and
landmark. It was built as a residence for financier [[Henry
PellattSir Henry Mill Pellatt
Casa Loma was constructed from 1911 to
1914. The architect was E. J. Lennox, who designed several
other city landmarks.
Casa Loma sits at an elevation of 140 metres
(460 ft) above sea level.
Due to its unique architectural character in Toronto,
Casa Loma has
been a popular filming location for movies and television. It is a
popular venue for wedding ceremonies. The historic place can be
rented in the afternoons after the museum closes to the public.
2.1 Main floor
2.2 Second floor
2.3 Third floor
3.1 Oak Room
3.2 Other rooms
5 Film location
6 Girl Guiding
7 Vintage car exhibition
8 Further reading
9 See also
11 External links
Construction of Casa Loma, c. 1912
Garden party at Casa Loma, 1914
In 1903, financier
Henry Pellatt purchased 25 lots from developers
Kertland and Rolf. Pellatt commissioned architect E. J. Lennox to
Casa Loma with construction beginning in 1911, starting with
the massive stables, potting shed and Hunting Lodge (a.k.a.
coach-house) a few hundred feet north of the main building. The
Hunting Lodge is a two-storey 4,380-square-foot (407 m2) house
with servants' quarters. As soon as the stable complex was completed,
Sir Henry sold his summer house in Scarborough to his son and moved to
the Hunting Lodge. The stables were used as a construction site for
the castle (and also served as the quarters for the male servants),
with some of the machinery still remaining in the rooms under the
The house cost about $3.5 million and took 300 workers three years to
build. Due to the start of World War I, construction was halted. At 98
rooms covering 64,700 square feet (6,011 m2), it was 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 central vacuum, two secret passages in Pellatt's
ground-floor office, a pool, and three bowling alleys in the basement
(the last two were never completed).
Most of the third floor was left unfinished, and today serves as the
Museum for The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada. Pellatt joined
the Regiment as a
Rifleman and rose through the ranks to become the
Commanding Officer. He was knighted for his dedication to the
Regiment. Pellatt later served as the Honorary Colonel and was
promoted to Major-General upon retirement.
During the depression that followed the war, the City of Toronto
increased Casa Loma's property taxes from $600 per year to $1,000 a
month, and Pellatt, already experiencing financial difficulties,
auctioned off $1.5 million in art and $250,000 in furnishings. Pellatt
was able to enjoy life in the castle for less than ten years, leaving
In the late 1920s, investors operated
Casa Loma for a short time as a
luxury hotel. During Prohibition it became a popular nightspot for
wealthy Americans. The Orange Blossoms, later known as
Glen Gray and
Casa Loma Orchestra, played there for eight months in 1927–1928.
Shortly thereafter, they went on a tour of North America and became a
major swing era dance band.
The city seized
Casa Loma in 1924 for unpaid taxes, and for years the
building was left vacant. In the 1930s,
CFRB broadcaster Claire
Wallace spent a night at
Casa Loma to gather material for a story
about ghosts and supernatural phenomena, and she later broadcast an
appeal to save the old building from demolition. Her broadcast was
heard by the vice-president of a local Kiwanis Club, and
Casa Loma was leased in 1937 by the
Kiwanis Club of West
Toronto, later the
Kiwanis Club of
Casa Loma (KCCL), which began
operating the castle under a sole-source contract as a tourist
Lieutenant-Governor Dr. Bruce opens
Casa Loma to the public (1937)
During World War II, the stables were used to conceal research and
production of sonar, and for construction of sonar devices (known as
U-boat detection, according to a book about the "castle".
The area was closed, behind an "Under Repairs" sign. The suggestion
that the stables were under renovation allowed workers of the secret
facility to come and go without suspicion.
Casa Loma is often
claimed to be the location of Station M that manufactured covert
devices for agents, claiming that the book Inside Camp X provides this
information. In 2015, however, author Lynn Philip Hodgson rejected
this in an interview with the
Toronto Star. "Nobody knows where
Station M was. You won’t read where it was in any book."
Casa Loma for 74 years, until 2011. Its tenure was not
without controversy, with Pellatt's great-grandniece Trelawny Howell
starting a campaign for an open tender lease process in 2005, and
the organization disputing her relationship with Pellatt in 2010.
A 2006 advisory committee led by former MPP Ron Kanter, and its
subsequent reports, recommended the city turn the castle's management
over to a new "
Casa Loma Trust"; however, a city manager's report
in 2008 recommended extending the city's lease with KCCL for 20 years,
and in July 2008 it was renewed.
Meanwhile, from 1997 until 2012 the castle underwent a 15-year,
$33-million exterior restoration largely funded by the city, which
also created a new board of trustees including seven KCCL members and
seven city appointees in 2008. The city's renewed management
agreement included a stipulation that KCCL would use the castle's net
revenues to help pay for upgrades; however, the organization used the
fund to cover operating shortfalls instead, and there was only
$335,000 in the account by 2011, rather than the $1.5-million
originally projected. As a result, in 2011 the city temporarily
resumed management of Casa Loma, and began welcoming bids from the
private sector in its search for a new operator.
In January 2014 the city entered a new long-term lease and operating
agreement with Liberty Entertainment Group, led by President and CEO
Nick Di Donato, which agreed to spend $7.4 million to continue the
castle's upgrades. The company's plans also included a fine dining
facility.  The restaurant, Blueblood Steakhouse, opened in summer
CN Tower is visible from the third floor.
Fountain as seen from the third floor.
Casa Loma has five acres of gardens. An underground tunnel connects
Casa Loma to the Hunting Lodge and to the stables (garage, potting
shed, stalls, carriage room and tack rooms).
Sir Henry's Study
Sir Henry's Suite
Sir Henry's Bathroom
Lady Pellatt's Suite
Lady Pellatt's Bathroom
Girl Guides Exhibit
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada
The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum
Stairs to Towers
The Kiwanis Room
The Garden Room
The Austin Room
Gift Shop (
Bowling lanes and shooting range - never completed)
Castle Café (Gymnasium - never completed)
Swimming Pool (Never completed)
Tunnel to Hunting Lodge and Stables
Standing Stalls with horses' names and box stalls
Sir Henry imported artisans from Europe to design much of the
furniture and other features of the castle.
The Oak Room
The Oak Room (originally called the Napoleon Drawing Room) is the most
decorated room in the house, and was used for formal occasions. It is
encased in wood panels in the style of
Grinling Gibbons which took
three artisans three years to carve. The highly ornamented plaster
ceiling was made by Italian craftsmen, and was enhanced by the use of
indirect lighting in the ceiling. Among other fixtures, the room
featured a 10 feet (3.0 m) high
Louis XVI style
Louis XVI style faux-gilt carved
light standard with 24 bulbs.
Casa Loma with new chandeliers
Sir Henry aspired to have members of the Royal Family stay in the
The Conservatory showcases plants and, at one end, this
Lady Pellatt's Suite.
The Round Room is designed to fit beneath the castle's tower. This
room is notable for its doors and windows, which curve to follow the
shape of the room.
Casa Loma is on Austin Terrace at Spadina Road, on an escarpment
(Davenport Hill) above Davenport Road. Davenport runs along the bottom
of the escarpment which was the shoreline of Lake Iroquois, the
predecessor of Lake
Ontario (coordinates 43°40′41″N
79°24′33″W / 43.678°N 79.4093°W / 43.678; -79.4093).
Casa Loma affords views down the escarpment and Spadina Avenue into
the heart of Toronto. The stables are located at 330 Walmer Road and
the Hunting Lodge at 328 Walmer Road.
Casa Loma is served by St. Clair West Station and Dupont Station on
the Yonge-University line of the
Casa Loma is a popular location for use in film and television. It has
served as a location for movies such as X-Men, Strange Brew, Chicago,
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Warehouse 13, Descendants,
Twitches Too, and The Pacifier. Comic books and children's novels that
have used it include the
Scott Pilgrim series and Eric Wilson's murder
mystery, The Lost Treasure of Casa Loma. It was also temporarily
Hogwarts for the release of Harry Potter and the
Deathly Hallows as well as The Beasts Castle for Disney’s 2017 live
action Beauty and The Beast. In the
CBC Television show Being Erica,
the episode "Mi Casa, Su Casa Loma" features
Casa Loma prominently as
the place where main character Erica Strange works.
It also served in the movie adaption of R.L. Stine's Goosebumps (TV
series) A Night In Terror Tower.
Casa Loma also features prominently
in the biography-documentary of Sir Henry Pellatt, The Pellatt
Newsreel: the Man who Built
Casa Loma and was nominated for a 2009
Gemini for Best Biography Documentary]. TV show Hemlock Grove was
also filmed there as well as The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and
Exterior shots of the building were used in the Gothic TV Show,
It is also the filming location of the TV movie "re-imagining," The
Rocky Horror Picture Show: Let's Do the Time Warp Again, where scenes
that take place at Dr. Frank N. Furter's castle and the movie theatre
where the audience participation and Ivy Levan's performance of
Science Fiction Double Feature
Science Fiction Double Feature take place were filmed (a movie theatre
marquee was placed at the front entrance of the castle for
Lady Pellatt frequently invited the Girl Guides to her home. Their
first visit was in 1913 when 250 girls and their leaders toured the
conservatories and stables, climbed the circular staircase to the top
turret and then were served tea in the Palm Room. In March 1914, Lady
Pellatt watched the Guides' annual fête from her bedroom window as
she was too ill to leave her room. Rallies became an annual event
at the house. Guides also skated on the house's curling rink in
winter. Girl Guiding events have continued in recent years, including
the introduction of a Girl Guide room in 1973, and both the 75th
anniversary and the 100th anniversary celebrations of Guiding in
Canada were held at Casa Loma.
Vintage car exhibition
As of 2014[update], the garage and carriage room feature an exhibition
of vintage cars from the early 1900s.
1910 Maxwell Model Q Standard
Ford Model T
Ford Model T Touring
1910 Maxwell Model Q Standard
Ford Model T
Ford Model T Woody
1929 Ford Model A
Denison, John (1982).
Casa Loma and the Man Who Built It. Boston Mills
Press. ISBN 978-0919822481.
Oreskovich, Carlie (1982). Sir Henry Pellatt, the King of Casa Loma.
MaGraw-Hill Ryerson. ISBN 978-0075484561.
Mary Lake Augustinian Monastery
Wikimedia Commons has media related to Casa Loma.
^ "The History of Casa Loma".
Casa Loma website. City of Toronto.
Casa Loma Altitude and Location
^ Dela Cruz, Ruth (31 March 2013). "A Visit to
Casa Loma (Old Castle
in Toronto)". Retrieved 22 February 2015.
^ Future Options for Casa Loma, Toronto,
Casa Loma Corporation, 2012,
115 p., p. 13
^ a b c d e Grant, Kelly (2010). "The Globe and Mail: Feud brews over
Casa Loma". www.globeandmail.ca. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
^ a b "Wallace, Claire History of Canadian Broadcasting".
www.broadcasting-history.ca. Retrieved 2018-02-22.
^ Casa Loma: The House that Henry built: how a castle in downtown
Toronto helped us win the battle of the Atlantic in WWII. Eric
Leclerc. Esprit de Corps. 18.6 (July 2011) p32. url=
^ Howell, Trelawny (2005). "
Toronto Waterfront Magazine: Casa Loma's
Fate" (PDF). www.casalomatrust.ca. Retrieved 10 February 2014.
^ Farncomb, Jennifer (2010). "Annex Gleaner: Howell defends her
lineage". www.casalomatrust.ca. Retrieved 3 July 2014.
^ Spears, John (2006). "
Toronto Star: Sir Henry's great-grandniece
wants new caretakers". www.casalomatrust.ca. Retrieved 10 February
^ Wood, Eric Emin (2013). "Turnaround at Casa Loma; Town Crier".
www.mytowncrier.ca. Archived from the original on 21 October 2013.
Retrieved 7 February 2014.
^ Wood, Eric Emin (2013). "Liberty Group to free Casa Loma; Town
Crier". www.mytowncrier.ca. Archived from the original on 7 February
2014. Retrieved 7 February 2014.
Casa Loma is getting a new 'upscale' but 'edgy' steakhouse;".
^ Freeman, Bill (1999). Casa Loma: Canada's Fairy-Tale Castle and Its
Owner, Sir Henry Pellatt. Lorimer. pp. 28–29.
ISBN 978-1550286458. Retrieved January 22, 2015.
^ Davidson, Hillary (2008). Frommer's
Toronto 2009. Frommer's Complete
Guides. Frommer's. p. 143. ISBN 978-0470399064. Retrieved
January 23, 2015.
^ Litvak, Marilyn M. (1996). Edward James Lennox: Builder of Toronto.
Dundurn. p. 60. ISBN 978-1550022049. Retrieved January 22,
^ Mi Casa, Su
Casa Loma (Television production). Being Erica. Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation. 2009. 21:32 minutes in. Archived from the
original on 2013-10-29.
^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2011-04-15. Retrieved
^ Maljardin Trivia
^ Rocky Horror Picture Show filming at Casa Loma
^ "Fact Sheet Lady Mary Pellatt" (PDF).
Girl Guides of Canada
Girl Guides of Canada Guides
du Canada. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-09-28. Retrieved
Casa Loma Trust
Landmarks in Toronto
Air Canada Centre
Maple Leaf Gardens
Art Gallery of Ontario
Canada's Walk of Fame
Canadian Broadcasting Centre
Canadian Broadcasting Centre (CBC Museum)
Hockey Hall of Fame
Italian Walk of Fame
Ontario Science Centre
Canadian National Exhibition
Centreville Amusement Park
Sunnyside Amusement Park
Parks and squares
Guild Park and Gardens
Nathan Phillips Square
Nathan Phillips Square (3D
St. Lawrence Market
Institutional and infrastructure
Old City Hall
Ontario Legislative Building
National Historic Sites
Parks and ravines
Italics indicate structures now defunct or demolished.
Coordinates: 43°40′41″N 79°24′34″W / 43.6781°N