Step back in time at Casa Loma, Toronto’s urban castle.
Although the building was completed in 1914 and its history is fascinating in its own right, the estate today offers a long walk through Canadian history beyond the castle itself. Enjoy several in-house museums, decadently preserved rooms, several dining options and a constant carousel of events for the whole family. Visitors can easily spend an entire day exploring the castle’s three floors, the stables outside and the gorgeously manicured gardens surrounding the estate. Waltz through the castle’s hallways at your own pace or take a tour, making sure to stop at each of the museum exhibits, such as the striking and evocative Dark Side of Toronto photography exhibit, which stretches through the tunnels that connect the stables to the castle. Discover the castle’s secret passageways inside or step out to get an unmatched view of the Toronto skyline and the estate’s five acres of gardens.
Since the attraction is owned by the City of Toronto, you can save by using your Toronto CityPass. As Casa Loma is a popular wedding and events venue, make sure to plan your visit ahead of time.
For up-to-date information and details on Casa Loma, we recommend you visit their website. For information about other places of interest to explore nearby, keep scrolling to see what Destination Ontario recommends.
More about Casa Loma
Located at 1 Austin Terrace nearby the iconic Yorkville/The Annex neighbourhoods, Casa Loma is an easy addition to any tourism schedule — though you’d be better off to plan the rest of your trip around Casa Loma. Continue the historical trend by visiting the nearby Royal Ontario Museum or the Spadina Museum, which delves deeper into local life in the Depression era, or spend the day strolling around the very walkable area of Casa Loma. Take a cab from downtown Toronto or simply walk from any of the surrounding neighbourhoods to get to Casa Loma. Visitors can take the TCC traveller to Spadina Ave. and Davenport Road via the 127 bus, northbound on the Spadina-University subway line or westbound on the St. Clair streetcar, then walk the ten minutes to the castle, or you can drive and park at the castle for a fee.
Exploring Casa Loma is like stepping into the life of a wealthy, twentieth-century mogul. Walk through the halls and imagine spending the afternoon studying in the library, sitting down for a meal in the Great Hall, or basking in the sunshine on the terrace. Visitors are welcomed into a former home decorated with decadently upholstered furniture and fabulously indulgent decor, like the tiger rug on the floor of one of the many bedrooms. If the exuberant gold leaf doesn’t strike your fancy, step outside to appreciate the Gothic architecture, including multiple towers hiding secrets (and fun events, like an escape room) within.
Despite the striking interiors, the castle is actually not preserved exactly as it was when its owners left it. In fact, Casa Loma has changed hands several times over its 100-year history. Originally built to accommodate the illustrious desires of Sir Henry Pellatt, an ambitious businessman, Casa Loma, Spanish for “Hill House,” was vacated in 1924 when Pellatt’s business luck came to an end. After monopolizing Toronto’s electricity by founding the Toronto Electric Light Company and buying risky, but successful, Canadian Pacific Railroad stocks, Pellatt used his fortune to build the decadent home and fill it with pricey works of art. Even after his years of success, a widely respected stint serving in the Queen’s Own Rifles, and a philanthropic streak that went down in Canadian history, Pellatt’s company began to fail when the government took ownership of electricity service. That, mixed with the struggles of post-World War I life, made Casa Loma an unrealistic endeavor and Pellatt had to liquidate his many fortunes in the face of bankruptcy. The castle became a luxury hotel for three years, during which time a local architect completed some unfinished areas of the grounds, but the Depression brought vacancy to the estate once again. This, perhaps, led to the best fate for Casa Loma: ownership by the City of Toronto.
Shortly after it took ownership in 1933, the city turned Casa Loma into the tourist attraction it is today. With the Dark Side of Toronto exhibit, an antique car collection and a tour of the Queen’s Own Rifles history, the castle is a bonafide look into the history of wealth and stature in Toronto. As a hospitality and events venue, Casa Loma hosts hundreds of events each year, such as weddings, photo and film shoots, and private events. Casa Loma garners around 650,000 visitors each year, making it one of Toronto’s most popular places to visit. The castle also hosts tons of events for visitors who can’t quite afford to rent out the whole castle, such as holiday light tours, Casa Loma-themed escape rooms, tea at the castle and seasonal dining events.
The magic of Casa Loma lies in its rich history and gorgeous visual effect, making it one of the most iconic places to visit in Toronto. Despite a tumultuous past, the castle’s history has led it to this moment, when it exists as a testament to the tenacity of Toronto and its people. Learn about the castle, the country, and the city as you explore the beautiful grounds of Casa Loma.