Is the Casa Loma Worth a Visit?

Every year, thousands of tourists flock to Ontario to see Castle Loma. But, is Casa Loma worth the visit?

An iconic Canadian landmark Casa Loma Castle is worth definitely visiting. A seven-floor gothic mansion surprises its visitors with a splendid facade and extensive gardens with a water fountain. It’s worth a visit for guided tours, beautiful interior, restaurants and panoramic view of Toronto city.

Image by freebie from Pixabay 

What is there to see at Casa Loma?

Casa Loma is a gorgeous gothic style castle mansion that has seven floors. It is estimated to have cost $5.4 million to build. 

Surrounding this beauty is a whopping five acres of immaculately kept gardens with installations and stunning water features.

Casa Loma Toronto
Casa Loma , Picture by saebaryo  on Flirckr.com

 When visiting, you can take a self-guided audio tour and see the gorgeous European furnishings.

Inside Casa Loma on the first floor, there is also a Great Hall that is 60ft tall! Inside this spectacular hall is wooden chandeliers and sculptures.

On the main floor are a 10,000 book library, Sir Henry’s study, and a plant-filled conservatory. 

Lining the foundations of the conservatory is marble flooring and a stunning stained glass ceiling. 

interior of the Casa Loma
Interiors of Casa Loma, Picture by Denis Jarvis on Flirckr.com

Likewise, on the second floor, there is an abundance of bedrooms, bathrooms, and suites where the family of Sir Henry Pellat stayed.

Once at the top of these towers, you will be mesmerized by the Toronto Skyline’s panoramic views.

Casa Loma also has a basement, originally supposed to be a bowling alley and a movie theatre. Today it serves as a gift shop, a cafe, and a movie exhibition.

Many famous movies have used the stunning Casa Loma as their backdrop, such films have been X-Men, Chicago, Scott Pilgrim vs the world, The Tuxedo, Strange Brew, and many more.

Inside the Basement is an 800ft tunnel that runs 18ft under the Austin Terrace. 

Inside the tunnel is an exhibit showcasing Toronto’s depression, prohibition, plague, Great Toronto Fire, and Toronto’s first plane crash. Moreover, there is also a car exhibit at the carriage house.

The tunnel connects to the stables and the potting sheds. Outside of Casa Loma is its gorgeous gardens full of walls, botanical plants, and walls. 

Many tourists come to visit Casa Loma just for the gardens alone!

When at Casa Loma, you can choose to take an audio tour available in English, French, Japanese, German, Italian, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, or American Sign language. 

If you choose not to take the tour, you can guide around it yourself, which takes approximately 2 hours on average to complete.

Check the forts person view video below from a tour in Casa Loma, to convince yourself if it’s worth visiting or not.

What are the restaurants at Casa Loma?

Casa Loma also has two excellent restaurants which are Liberty Cafe and Terrace Grill

Casa Loma Restaurants
Casa Loma Restaurants, Picture by Ted Drake on Flirckr.com

The cafe offers general snacks like pastries, sandwiches, salads, salads, pasta, soft drinks, tea, and coffee. 

The Terrace Grill is more of a dining place with beers, soft drinks, and full meals.

How much does it cost to visit Casa Loma?

It’s best to visit Casa Loma to purchase tickets online on their website to avoid ques in advance.

Depending on how you want your ticket, you can pay to have it sent to you by mail.

 After purchasing your ticket, you have six months to claim your purchase. If you have a Toronto CityPASS, you can get an expedited entry to Casa Loma. 

All you need to do is show the admission office your ticket on arrival.

What are the opening hours?

Casa Loma is open every day of the week, 9:30 am-5:30 pm apart from Monday. However, it does close on Christmas Day, and on Christmas Eve, it closes early at 4:00 pm.

On average, the best time to visit Casa Loma is during the summer; however, we recommend that you visit before 10:30 in the morning to avoid the summer queues!

Can you see Casa Loma without paying?

Unfortunately, for you to see Casa Loma, you have to pay an admission fee. The admission covers the gardens and the rooms.

What is the purpose of Casa Loma?

Sir Henry Mill Pellat built Casa Loma, he was and Canadian solider and financier.

Pellatt was extremely wealthy as he launched the Toronto Electric Light company back in 1833.

His wealth allowed him to become the chairman of 21 companies, leading him to own railroads and generating Toronto’s electricity, including Niagra Falls! His accomplishments got him knighted.

During 1903 he bought 25 lots of land from well sought after developers Kirtland and Rolf. 

Pellat was fanatical about castles and wanted a castle of his own, so he used the land he bought to build a castle. 

Pursuing his vision, he commissioned an architect to E J Lennox to design his dream, beginning in 1911.

Initially, the castle began as a hunting lodge with stables. Then over time, he moved into this accommodation with his servants while work carried on. 

After that, it took three years to build with over 299 workers and servants! Through hard work, Casa Loma managed to have 98 rooms that covered a scope of 64,700 meters, making it the largest private residence in Canada.

Then the first world war and the great depression hit, causing work on Casa Loma to come to a halt.

 As a result, the Toronto Electric Light company struggled, as the electric market in Toronto became publicly owned, causing Pellat great financial struggles.

Pellet was already facing significant difficulties owing $1 million dollars to the Home Bank of Canada.

 Similarly, the taxes on Casa Loma dramatically rose from $600 per year to $1000 per month.

As a result, Pellet had to auction off $1.5 million of his artwork and $250,00 of his furnishings to keep himself afloat. 

It was estimated that he sold all his belongings for 17% of its original cost.

Pellat struggled to keep up with finances and ended up departing his beloved Casa Loma in 1923.

 During the late 1920s, investors took over Casa Loma and turned it into a luxury hotel, where wealthy Americans would come to socialize, and famous bands would play.

Due to its original owner’s financial difficulties, World War I and the depression caused lots of property taxes on Casa Loma not to be paid. 

Finally, in 1924, Toronto took over Casa Loma, leaving it vacant for many years.

In 1937 the Kiwanis Club of West Toronto took up this destination converting it into a tourist attraction.

 Between the years 1997-2012, Casa Loma was renovated, undergoing a $33 million restoration project.

One Kiwanis Club of West Toronto’s lease was up, the city took back Casa Loma and opened it up for buyers of the private sector to run it.

How far is Casa Loma from downtown Toronto?

Generally, the distance from Casa Loma to downtown Toronto is not far; it’s only 4km! 

Depending on the day and the time, a journey in your car can take around 10-15 minutes. 

If you’re a cycler, it will take about 18 minutes to cycle, and walking will take 50 minutes to reach.

Similarly, if you plan to travel by train, it will take around 16 minutes to reach. 

The common routes to Casa Loma for the Toronto Transit Commission (TTC) and buses are as follows:

● Downtown to Dupont Station: Take the Spadina-University line and exit the station. When you exit, walk to blocks north, reaching Spadina Avenue. Once on Spadina Avenue, you will have to undergo a steep climb, 110 steps to be exact, to reach Casa Loma!

● Exit at St.Clair West Station: You can either get the Spadina University line or the Yonge line to St Clair West. Outside of the station, walk east to St. Clair Spadina and turn right. After this, walk for around 15 minutes till you reach Casa Loma.

The best way of getting there

The best way to get to Casa Loma can be subjective. If you want to get there without spending much, you can use your fuel or get the Subway from St. Clair West Station and then walk; it’s less than $5! However, if you want to get there quickly, either take the car or train.

Who owns Casa Loma now?

In 2014, the Liberty Entertainment Group took over it, spending $7.4 million on upgrades and adding in restaurants. Today, Casa Loma still serves as a tourist destination and popular dining hotspot.

What events are happening at Casa Loma?

Every year, many spectacular events are held at Casa Loma. In the summer, Casa Loma is renowned for hosting mesmerizing concerts in its gardens; you can view the listings for these here.

Further to this, they host a series of Escape events where you have to work together in teams to solve puzzles and mysteries. 

To participate in this event, you have to pay an additional fee to the castle admission and check out more information here.

Similarly, during October, Casa Loma also hosts horror events.

Casa Loma is a pretty spectacular place to visit if you’re in Toronto. While it may not be as historical as other castles, it’s undoubtedly grand and mesmerizing to visit.

Summary

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Mihail Ghelbur

I have been a castle lover since I remember myself, couldn't go past a castle without finding all I could about it. Now my goal is to visit every single one of them and share it with you! https://castletourist.com/about-mihail-ghelbur/

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