On December 28, 2012 I embarked on a local Toronto travel adventure: Casa Loma – Toronto’s castle. For this year’s Christmas, the castle was decorated as “Mozart’s Magical Castle” and for the entire month of December 2012, the castle was the location of live performances, workshops, wandering characters and strolling carollers. All sorts of special events were on offer: Santa’s Workshop, Story Time, Breakfast with Santa, Build a Dragon and more. Obviously, this historic castle provides the perfect backdrop for all sorts of historically themed events.
Built by super-wealthy financier Sir Henry Pellatt, this extravagant landmark took more than three years to build and was finally finished in 1914. E.J. Lennox, a renowned Toronto-based architect, who had also built Toronto’s Old City Hall and the King Edward Hotel, spent 3.5 million dollars (in 1911 currency) on the construction budget for this lavish structure and engaged 300 workers.
With its 98 rooms, Casa Loma was the largest private residence in Canada. The oven in the kitchen was large enough to hold an ox, and the building was equipped with the most modern conveniences of the time – a central vacuum system, a modern telephone exchange and state-of-the-art bathrooms. It even has two secret passageways.
Following the recession that set in after the end of the first World War and a huge increase in property taxes, Sir Henry Pellatt was forced to abandon the property in 1923 and it later became a luxury hotel and even a popular nightspot during the 1920s. The City of Toronto seized the Casa Loma in 1933 due to back taxes and four years later leased it to the Kiwanis Club which has been operating Toronto’s second most popular landmark ever since.