Casa Loma

Last Saturday, Jenn and I paid a visit to Casa Loma. It’s a place that Jenn has visited before but it was a long time ago. I’ve never been there and I’ve only heard of it from Jenn. I didn’t quite know what to expect but it was a nice trip back in time.

Casa Loma is a piece of property that used to belong to Sir Henry Pellatt and Lady Mary Pellatt. Sir Pellatt was a wealthy and generous business man. He drew up plans to build Casa Loma in 1911 and after three years and $3.5 million later, his dream was built. That’s a lot of money for back then. Three million dollars back then would be equivalent to $90 million today.

Casa Loma is one massive house. It has ninety eight rooms, a wine cellar, a stable and a whole bunch of other rooms. Sir Henry and Lady Mary didn’t sleep in the same room but even if they had their own rooms, it seemed kind of small. If I had my own room, it’d be pretty big but I’m guessing that their standards aren’t like mine.

At the front of the property is a circular fountain. I think there’s a fountain at the back as well but it’s rectangular. Every time we were outside, it started to get windy so the water was being pushed in our direction so I didn’t get too closer to the fountains.

The house was fully decorated with a lot of antiques. Well, I guess they’re considered antiques to me but back then all of the furniture was probably the best of the best. I’m surprised that they managed to get most of it back since Sir Henry had to auction most of it off due to debts.

The main hall as a sixty foot high ceiling with a few flags hanging from the ceiling. Towards one side of the main hall are pipe organs. I’m not sure if someone was actually playing the organ during the time of my visit or if it was a recording but I could have sworn that I heard a little bit of music.

This is the library but today it is used as a dining room. There used to be walls where the columns are at the back of the room but they were knocked down to make room for the dining room. If you take a look at the floor you can see an alternating design where one piece is a different colour. But if you look straight down, the colour of the wood grain were all the same. The carpenter made the illusion by alternating the direction of the wood pieces. Very clever.

The ceilings of some of the rooms were very detailed. You don’t see ceilings like that in modern homes anymore. Most of the ceilings that I’ve seen in homes are either flat, bumpy or have some sort of circular shape to them. The detail put into this house was amazing.

Even this column shows very intricate detail. I can’t imagine the amount of time and effort that was put forth to produce something like this. Today, we probably have computers that can do all that of cutting in a matter of minutes but back then, it probably took a carpenter days to produce the same thing.

I found this toilet to be a bit odd because it didn’t have a handle to flush and I wasn’t willing to pull up the seat to take a closer look. I’m sure that the waste goes somewhere but I could care less as to where it goes. Who knows, maybe they had automatic flushing back then.

As I head up towards the higher floors, I could smell how old the house is. It’s hard to explain but it does smell like old people. A lot of the things on the third floor appeared to have graffiti all over. I guess people who visit Casa Loma wanted to leave something behind so they wrote their names on whatever they could. I would too but I don’t think it’s right. The history of Casa Loma does not involve me so why leave my name there?

Just when I thought we were on the high part of the house, we found a staircase that lead up to one of the towers. This staircase only had room for one going up so we have to wait for all the people to come down before we started going up.

And last but not least, I found a friend to take a picture with. I stood beside him as Jenn took the picture. I wasn’t quite ready when she snapped the picture but I guess it turned out just fine.

Casa Loma appears to be a very nice place to visit but unless you’re a history enthusiast, it wasn’t all that great. It has about all the things that you would expect from an old house like a mysterious secret passage that nobody knows about. But that secret passage in Casa Loma wasn’t all that exciting. It wasn’t like it led to the Batcave or anything. The secret passage went to the wine cellar. Nonetheless, Casa Loma might not be a major part of Canada’s history but it’s a part of Toronto’s history. Some of the things that they tell you during the tour were fascinating and it shows how much things have changed since the 1900’s. I just don’t think that paying $17 for an audio tour was worth it. We could have walked around the whole house with the audio stuff and it would have been free.