Casa Loma is Toronto’s only castle. It is located at 1 Austin Terrace at the top of a hill that dominates the city. The views are fantastic!
Casa Loma is easily reached by public transport. Since it was such a lovely day, I decided to take the subway to Spadina and walk the rest of the way. I strolled along Spadina Avenue enjoying the peace and quiet of the Annex North neighbourhood.
Spadina Avenues seems to end at Davenport but it actually goes round the hill. In order to get to Casa Loma, I climbed the Baldwin Steps up the hill. They were named after former Ontario premier and landowner Robert Baldwin. The steps are set among lovely gardens with lots of fragrant flowers. The path at the top of the stairs is also well-kept and has comfortable benches. I saw people walking their dogs, jogging and relaxing.
Casa Loma was built by in 1911Sir Henry Pellatt, a Canadian captain of industry. It cost a staggering 3.5 million dollars. From the outside it looks like a medieval castle. The Great Hall has a big fireplace, an organ and banners hanging from wood beams. There are secret passageways, hidden doors and a museum devoted to the Queens Own Rifles displaying uniforms and memorabilia from the 1800s to the two world wars and the current Iraq / Afghanistan war.
Visitors can pick up handsets for the self-guided tour at the Great Hall.
It was a rather warm day and since there is no air conditioning, they scattered huge heavy-duty fans around the place. That and the many tourist and school groups made the visit somewhat uncomfortable for me. Especially when I climbed the narrow wooden stairs to the top of one of the turrets and was suddenly surrounded by keyed up thirteen-year-olds!
Of all the rooms, my favourite were the Conservatory, Lady Pellatt’s sitting room and bedroom and the gardens. The bathrooms were huge and had all the latest gadgets, including bidets!
I took a stroll around the delightful gardens in full bloom. There was a couple having their photos taken for their wedding album, that’s how pretty the gardens are! And the view of Toronto is breathtaking.