One of Canada’s more than 20 castles
Casa Loma is the unique legacy of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt. Sir Henry was a leading financier in Canada around the turn of the century, and a decorated commander of the Queen’s Own Rifles. His wealth was accumulated through a variety of ventures, including land speculation in the west, prior to CP Rail’s trans-continental extension; and a monopoly on the provision of electric power in the Toronto area.
This wealth allowed Sir Henry to build a grand home for his wife on a 25 acre country estate, then north of Toronto. This estate originally had only a hunting lodge, but when Sir Henry decided to build stables nearby, it was not long before he also decided to build the home of his dreams. Construction on the castle was begun in 1911, and continued until the castle was very nearly finished, in 1914. This undertaking employed three hundred men, and cost the exorbitant sum of $3.5 million dollars. In addition, Sir Henry spent another $1.5 million dollars on furnishing the castle lavishly.
Unlike many homes built during this time, Casa Loma was designed with several technological features we take for granted today. The house was wired for electric power; fitted for a central vacuuming system; and had its own telephone exchange with 59 telephones. (The stories tell that frequently, more telephone calls were made in one day at Casa Loma than in the entire city of Toronto at that time.) Also, the castle’s original ovens in the kitchen were so big that they could cook an entire ox.