The last weekend in June is something holy to me. We normally spend it with our dear Swedish friends to celebrate their unofficial national holiday Midsommar (Read here about it). But this year, instead of merrily dancing around the maypole, I was awarded with a weekend Toronto rotation that I just could not get rid of. But what do you do when things just not work out the way you have planned? Right, make the best out of it!
So since the weather forecasts were not too promising for the sunday that I had half the day to myself, I was looking for an indoor activity yet I was not in the mood for a visit to one of Toronto´s amazing art museums.
You know my weakness for castles and palaces by now and guess what? Toronto has something just like that. An impressive mansion that once was home to industrialist and energy tycoon Sir Henry Pellatt: La Casa Loma, the House on the Hill.
Built between 1911 and 1914 it was with 98 rooms by far the largest private mansion in North America by the time it was completed. Reminiscent of the style of ancient European castles, Casa Loma was a great example of showcasing the immense fortunes that Pellatt had made over the decades. He was in fact the man who established the first hydro-generating plant right at the Niagara Falls!
In the end, the family went bankrupt during the Great Depression and the estate was sold, used as a luxury hotel for a few years without success and then some time later was converted into a public museum by the City of Toronto. Today it is one of the city´s most popular sights to visit.
And it is really easy to get there. Just take the Line 1 metro northbound and get off at Dupont station. Exit the station in direction of travel and follow Spadina Ave up the hill. The mansion´s highest tower is already visible and you cannot miss it. Take the staircase up through the park and you are there.
Admission is 27 CAD per person and includes the visit to a large amount of private rooms and premises, the garden and a collection of historic cars. Do not miss the view from the top of the lower tower which is accessible through the third floor. I personally would have wished for a few more rooms to be accessible (instead of the exhibition about World War II on the third floor) and for the next visit I certainly would choose a weekday instead of a Sunday (hordes of people in and outside the building constantly standing in the way in the hope to get a good selfie), but in the end a great spot to spend a few hours at and to take a trip back in time.
Just the right thing I was looking for to spend the rainy forenoon at. Make sure to head there first thing in the morning during the week though (Casa Loma opens at 9:30am). Then it should be less crowded.
There are also quite a few movies that Casa Loma is featured in and that have been recorded inside the magnificent mansion. An exhibition in the basement is all about it. But before I go on, here are the interior pics, peeps. Enjoy! I hope you´re inspired now to make your own way up there….
1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, ON M5R 1X8, Canada
T: +1 416-923-1171