Sung to the tune of Barcelona by D Kay & Epsilon which you can listen to whilst reading this post here.
Casa Loma can be found a short 10 minute walk from our new home in Toronto, making it our closest major tourist attraction. Since being here we have visited twice, once for the Christmas tree display back in December and again this week for a special preview for local residents of the Winter Wonderland event happening this family day weekend. We’ve also walked past it countless times so have a variety of photos.
The castle was built in 1911-1914 for Sir Henry Pellatt who wanted a house that no one could ignore. He certainly achieved his goal; it sits on top of one of Toronto’s few hills and definitely stands out against its surroundings. Sir Henry spent more than $3.5 million constructing and furnishing his home but sadly due to the some ‘business misfortunes’ and the rising cost of servants he had to move out just a few years later in 1923. The castle opened as a tourist attraction back in 1937 and is also now a popular wedding venue.
100 years of Christmas
We aren’t entirely sure why it was 100 years of Christmas, perhaps because it was 100 years since the castle was built? 10 different Christmas trees were dotted about, each representing a different decade. This made for some pretty interesting sites such as the Rubik’s Cube tree and dead tiger rug combination in Sir Henry’s suite.
There were also a wide range of Christmas activities going on although sadly they were mostly geared towards children so no cookie decorating for us, but this did mean that all the kids were kept out of the way on the third floor.
Tripadvisor suggested that we visited on a clear day to see great views of downtown Toronto from the castle’s tower, so of course this is what we did and it was definitely worth it.
You are free to explore the castle at your own pace using the self guided audio tour, which is great because you can just skip the boring bits. Like any good castle it also features a not-so-secret tunnel to take you across the road and into a carriage room, stables and potting shed. None of these were particularly exciting but there were a few old cars to look at which I’m sure certain members of Stewart’s family would find interesting (photos available upon request).
As mentioned, our second trip inside was earlier this week when we went to see the light display. Given that this event took place in the gardens, in the evening and it was -14 outside we didn’t hang around long! We took a quick look at the pretty lights, briefly watched a man make a polar bear ice sculpture and checked out the view of downtown Toronto. Before heading back inside we sampled our first s’more (a biscuit sandwich with toasted marshmallows and chocolate), which was tasty despite the Mars bar being rock solid due to the cold. Stewart managed to take a few snaps before his hands went numb – I didn’t even dare take my gloves off!