Casa Loma: How much is too much?

I visited Casa Loma  which is a castle in Toronto built by Canadian businessman, entrepreneur, philanthropist, and soldier, Sir Henry Pellatt (1859 – 1939). He was friends with Thomas Edison and it was in large part due to his innovation that electricity was harnessed from Niagara Falls and was put to use in Canada.

Casa Loma is a 100 room castle built on a hill. Sir Henry intended it to be a place that people enjoyed during his life and a military museum after this death. He had a fascination with Hercules which showed itself in the décor throughout Casa Loma and with British royalty. He hoped to one day entertain the Queen at Casa Loma. You can read more about Sir Henry Pellatt.

Sir Henry and his wife, Lady Mary moved in before the construction was completed and often entertained. They liked to throw lavish parties at Casa Loma. Sadly, due to various factors such as WWI and the Great Depression Casa Loma was not completed and Sir Henry lost all of his money and had to move out. It stood empty for many years until the Kiwanis club took it over and made it a tourist destination. Sir Henry who had a good heart came to the re-opening and expressed to everyone that Casa Loma was meant to be a place where people enjoyed themselves and he was very happy to see it reopen.

Sir Henry had great plans for Casa Loma but he wasn’t even finished building it when he had to move out. He was a savvy businessman and very forward thinking. In fact some of the ideas that didn’t work out during his lifetime did eventually pan out, such as the idea that beet sugar could be a significant sweetener to use instead of cane sugar (doing a quick internet search I came across this explanation of the differences between beet and cane sugar). However, due to outside factors such as the war and the depression,  Sir Henry and his wife Lady Mary could not afford to remain in Casa Loma and had to move out. After that they kept moving from house to house and Lady Mary died two years later. Sir Henry remarried not too long after but his second wife did not live very long either. Sir Henry ended his days living with his former chauffer.

I keep wondering if Sir Henry have been better off not throwing such lavish parties and finishing his home? Or was he being true to himself, enjoying what he had while he had it and taking risks?

Photos of Casa Loma

Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario

There is an audio tour for Casa Loma. If you like history I recommend visiting this landmark. At first I was hoping that there would be a docent but there is so much information about each room/area the audio tour turned out to be better.

Entrance of Casa Loma
Entrance of Casa Loma

 

 

Main Entrance
Main entrance with fireplace and piano.

 

 

Scottish Coronation Chair
Replica of a Scottish Coronation Chair. The graffiti is from that time. One of the comments says “P. Abbott kept here 1800”.

 

 

Example of adornments throughout Casa Loma
Example of adornments throughout Casa Loma

 

Oak Room
The Oak Room which was being set up for filming of a TV show called the Strain. Casa Loma is often used to film scenes for TV shows and movies

 

 

Oak Room
There’s a monstrance and a crucifix, possibly for the scene from the Strain

 

The Skulls
One of my favorites movies had scenes filmed at Casa Loma. Various movies and shows have been filmed here.

 

 

 

The Study
Sir Henry’s Study. This was just one of many areas we saw set up like an office

 

The Study
Me in the Study

 

Secret Passageways
Staircases on the sides of the fireplace are secret passageways. The one on the left leads to the wine cellar in the basement and the one on the right leads upstairs to the bedrooms

 

Wine Cellar
Chellsy in the Wine Cellar. You can see the secret passageway leading up to the Study

 

WIne Cellar
Me in the Wine Cellar

 

 

 

Family Room
This room was used as the family room by Sir Henry and his family. It has the elegance Beauty and the Beast library.

 

 

Family Room
The family room set up for an event

 

Lady Pellatt's sitting room
Lady Pellatt’s sitting room in her bedroom suite. She was a significant force to the Girl Guides of Canada and helped them grow from a small organization to thousands of members by the time she retired. She often entertained the girls here.

 

Lady Pellatt's Bedroom
Lady Pellatt’s Bedroom

 

 

 

Lady Pellatt's bathroom
Part of Lady Pellatt’s Bedroom. Does anyone know what the little tub is?

 

Sir Henry's Bedroom
Sir Henry’s Bedroom

 

Sir Henry's Bedroom Suite
Sir Henry had to auction off most of Casa Loma’s belongings when he had to move out of his home.

 

Sir Henry's Bedroom Suite
One of Sir Henry’s desks

 

Sir Henry's Bathroom
Sir Henry’s Bathroom. Notice the telephone in the right corner. There were telephones throughout the house.

 

Bedroom Suites Hallway
Hallway leading to Lady Pellatt’s Bedroom on the right and guestroom on the left. While the guests rooms were all decorated as lavishly as Sir Henry’s and Lady Mary’s suites, we saw many of them with bedrooms, living rooms, and bathrooms. When Sir Henry had to move out, Toronto considered turning Casa Loma into a hotel but it never came to fruition.

 

Landing
Landing leading from bedrooms to main entrance. Chellsy and I felt there should be a coffee shop here.

 

Staircase to Scottish Tower
There are two towers. This was me stopping to warm up on the way up to the Scottish Tower

 

Scottish Tower
Chellsy pondering the graffiti in the Scottish Tower

 

Graffiti in tower
Graffiti GRRR. Apparently there is historical significance to graffiti which I’m sure will be a post someday.

 

Scottish Tower
One of the stairs leading up the tower

 

Scottish Tower
Leading up the tower

 

Military History
This corridor displayed items regarding military service, honoring Sir Henry’s wish that his home would become a military museum some day.

 

 

The Solarium
The Solarium. Seems like a nice place to have a wedding

 

The Solarium
The Solarium

 

Solarium
Entrance to the Solarium

 

Tunnel
Tunnel leading from the basement to the garage, stables, and greenhouse. They used this space to display photographs about the Great Fire of Toronto, the Tuberculosis Plague, and the Prohibition.

 

garage
Sir Henry’s Desk in the garage

 

Greenhouse
Chellsy in the Greenhouse. This area was nice and toasty.
Greenhouse
Me in the Greenhouse

 

Tunnel
In the tunnel

 

Garage
In the garage

 

Greenhouse
The Gardens were closed since it’s winter but we were able to see the greenhouse.

 

Garage
Garage

 

Garage
Garage

 

Garage
Four cars in the garage

 

 

The stables
The Stables

 

 

Belle
The home of one of the horses

 

 

Stable

 

Pool
The Pool in the basement. Sir Henry intended there to be a heated pool and a two bowling alleys.

 

Pool/Theater
What was to be the pool is now a little theater where they show a short film about the life of Sir Henry

 

 

Back in the house

 

 

 

The Solarium
The Solarium

 

 

Solarium celing
The ceiling of the Solarium

 

The hill
The view from the hill

 

 

 

 

CN Tower & Perspective

Interesting thing. The view from our hotel room at night on the 39th floor is much nicer than atop the CN Tower 1122 ft high, which approximately twice as high. 

It’s good to stop and notice what’s good about where we are on the way to where we’re going. 

CN Tower





Our Room





#wponthego

Possibilities & Light

Ever since we crawled out of that primordial slime, that’s been our unifying cry,

“More light.”  Sunlight.  Torchlight.  Candlelight. 

Neon, incandescent lights that banish the darkness from our caves to illuminate our roads, the insides of our refrigerators. 

Big floods for the night games at Soldier’s Field. 

Little tiny flashlights for those books we read under the covers when we’re supposed to be asleep. 

Light is more than watts and footcandles. 

Light is metaphor. 

Light is knowledge, light is life, light is light. 

~Diane Frolov and Andrew Schneider

 

I wanted to create a space for sharing new and interesting things. I’ve made various attempts at blogging but either didn’t have enough material or focus to keep it going. The other thing that always stymied me was coming up with a name. Some inspiration came from the results of a personality quiz I took recently that I plan to discuss in another post very soon. It was about purpose, innovation, and seeing things in a new light. So I looked up quotes about light and came across this one and finally committed to a name.

There are many interesting and exciting things we can devote our attention on instead of dwelling on the negative. This blog is meant to be interactive. I hope you will post interesting things you encounter in the comments as well.

 

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