on July 7, 2011
Casa Loma is a Gothic style house that was built as a residence in the early 1900s and was converted into a museum in 1937. It is just outside the city and offers an escape from city life with a bit of history thrown in.==Information==Opening times:Daily from 9.30am until 5pm with last entry at 4pm (it closes early on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day)Admission Prices (all inclusive of tax):Adults -$20.55Seniors and Youths (14-17 years) - $14.63Children (4 - 13 years) - $11.32.Parking:Available at $3 per hour, up to a maximum charge of $9===My Opinion===To be honest I had mixed opinions about Casa Loma. In a city that has its fair share of tourist attractions, it wasn't high on my list, but a friend of mine wanted to go and so off we went. The first thing that struck me was how high the admission prices are. I personally think that almost $21 is a little pricey for what is, in essence, a former stately home. This is especially so when you consider the comparative price of much more famous tourist attractions such as the CN Tower.Without a doubt though, the buildings and gardens of Casa Loma are unbelievably pretty and they offer a very peaceful alternative to city life. When we were wandering around the gardens especially on a hot summers day, I remember thinking this would be a lovely place to spend the afternoon picnicking or just reading a book, with only the sounds of the birds and the trickling stream to distract you. Despite the fact that it is a popular tourist attraction, the grounds are more than big enough to accommodate them all and it is remarkably easy to find yourself alone with nature. Like I said, we were there in summer, but I would also liked to have visited in winter when I imagine the house looks absolutely stunning against the snow.As for the house itself, Casa Loma’s own website describes it as ‘a step back in time to European elegance and splendour’ and they are pretty much right, although it is within the house itself I had my reservations. The building is absolutely stunning both inside and out and, left to your own devices, you could certainly picture the splendour of which it talks. However the problem is that you aren’t left to your own devices, because each of the rooms has been decorated to reflect the style of the period. There are also pictures from the house as it was so you can see what each room looked like. This all sounds very good I hear you say, but my problem is that they haven’t matched the decoration of the rooms to the pictures. I just couldn’t understand the point of it- if you know exactly what it looked like, why wouldn’t you just replicate that? I found it all very confusing to be honest.This aside, they have done an admirable job of restoring the house and many of the hallways and especially the stairs are as they would have been – rickety and wooden. This may pose a problem for those with walking difficulties, but there is enough of the house accessible anyway to make a trip worthwhile even without climbing the stairs. The restoration work is ongoing and there is even a part of the entrance fee ($1 for adult tickets and 50 cents for all others) that goes directly to the fund for maintaining and repairing the house.Overall I would recommend a visit to Casa Loma because it is definitely a lovely building in beautiful grounds that offers a nice break from the hustle and bustle of the city, but I would say that they prices are a little high and you should be prepared for the confusion of the presentation of the rooms inside.
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