I live within walking distance of Casa Loma, but until last week, I’d never been.
With a friend visiting from out of town and rather cold and blustery May weather, a visit to Casa Loma seemed like a great addition to our tour of Toronto. And I’ll admit that I was curious to see what I had been missing all of these years.
First off, Casa Loma is very picturesque, and I can see why it’s such a popular wedding venue. Even with the grey day, the castle made for a pretty picture…so damn Instagramable.
As for the inside…the conservatory and library were nice, but after a while I got a little bored wandering from room to room (how many sitting rooms did these people really need?!) and learning about fixtures, furniture, decor and where they were from/what they were inspired by.
My favourite parts of Casa Loma were the following:
- A short film about the history of Casa Loma, focused on Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, who built this extravagant residence. Most notably, Sir Henry brought hydro-electricity to Toronto (cool!), but sadly, his story ends in financial ruin, with some heartbreak thrown in the mix as well. Still, a fascinating watch, and good context for a wander through the castle and grounds. You can watch the film in the castle’s basement – it plays on a constant loop – in a room that was supposed to house a swimming pool.
- The tunnel to the garage and stables. Here you can find some fascinating photos from the Toronto Archives about life in the city during Prohibition, The Depression, The Plague and The Great Toronto Fire. The captions on some of the photos are quite hilarious, though overall, the photos are grim and sad…as were these times.
3. The garage. There are some VERY classic cars housed in here, and it was interesting to learn that Sir Henry had the first electric car in the city – but crashed it on the first drive as he didn’t know how to brake! What a character!
5. The gardens. It was chilly, but the gardens and terraces were still nice. There’s also a walking path I would have liked to explore, but as it was so windy, we skipped this.
6. Recognizing scenes from the first X-Men movie that were shot at the castle. I loved the X-Men cartoon TV series as child, and I have enjoyed some of the recent movies. I’m really glad they rebooted the film series and we can all pretend that The Last Stand never happened (what a terrible film). I hope X-Men: Apocalypse is good (out May 27). Anyways, there are a lot of films that have been shot at the castle (as noted by movie posters in the basement). On a side note: the basement retains the lingering scent of French fries, due to the food court housed here.
Would I tour Casa Loma again? Nope. But I am glad that I went! I will happily enjoy a free walk around the ‘hood, but I don’t think there was anything in the castle worth going back for…especially for $25.00 a ticket.
RATING: Maybe go if your parents are paying (like mine did – thanks mom and dad!) or it’s cold and rainy outside and you feel left out because all of your friends have been and you haven’t.