Sir Henry Pellatt designed Casa Loma – or ‘the house on a hill’ – in 1911 with Canadian architect E.J. Lennox, and it took three years to build. Sir Henry and Lady Pellatt were society hosts and both had philanthropic projects; he helped to create St. John’s Ambulance Brigade of Canada, while she helped to promote the Girl Guides of Canada. After suffering financial ruin, the Pellatts were forced to abandon their castle ten years later.
Today, the Edwardian era castle is a popular attraction and the only full sized castle in North America. Run by the Liberty Entertainment Group, every entry includes a multimedia audio tour, explaining the history behind the 100 palatial rooms and secret passageways, all elaborately decorated with authentic furnishings. A big draw to visiting Toronto’s biggest historical attraction is views of the lush five acres of immaculately tended to gardens, which features a wooded hillsides filled with wildflowers and decorative grasses. Stables and carriages connect to Casa Loma via an 800-foot tunnel, which includes an exhibit of photographs documenting Toronto’s darker days during Prohibition, The Plague and the Great Toronto Fire.