Casa Loma should serve as a warning to eccentric millionaires: pay your property taxes or your castle will be turned into a tourist trap.
It’s pricey, crowded— and 100% haunted. The original owner of this Gothic revival mansion, rich Canadian man Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, built the country’s most #extra estate (peep the wine cellar, horse stables, and real-tiger rug) in the early 1900s but couldn’t afford to stay in it after the Depression hit. Today, it lives on as part shrine to Pellatt and part backdrop to mediocre movies (The Love Guru, anyone?). Jostle with hordes of retirees for a view of the lavish, Orientalist rooms or take a “secret tunnel” (it’s not secret if you label it!) to the antique car collection in the garage. To escape the knee-replacement masses, head up the narrow, rickety spiral staircases to the two tall towers—a fine view of the Toronto skyline awaits.
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Best things to see at Casa Loma
The antique car display
Car buffs can geek out over the collection of early-1900s cars on display in the home’s garage and carriage room. Among the antiques, you’ll find a 1929 Ford Model A, a 1910 Maxwell Model Q Standard, a 1922 Ford Model T Woody, and more.
The Dark Side tunnel exhibit
An 800-foot tunnel running 18 feet below the ground connects the main house to the stables and carriage house. The tunnel itself isn’t all that exciting, but the photos lining its walls are pretty cool—they’re archival evidence of Toronto’s darker times, including Prohibition, The Plague (ack!), The Depression, The Great Toronto Fire, and more.
Group of Seven art collection
Art lovers will appreciate the collection on the third floor comprised of pieces by a group of landscape artists that made up the Group of Seven. The group was active from 1920-1933, until their influence grew so big that they disbanded and created an association called the Canadian Group of Painters.
The Queen’s Own Rifle Museum
The house isn’t just frilly furnishings and elaborate knickknacks. Sir Henry Pallatt was a high-ranking official in The Queen’s Own Rifle, commanding it from 1901-1920. The museum on the third floor houses an interesting array of historic artifacts from his time of service, including several (non-functioning) machine guns and rifles.
Best places to eat & drink near Casa Loma
Fine dining in a castle? Oo la la. If you really want to feel fancy during your visit, make a reservation at Casa Loma’s upscale steakhouse. You’ll nosh on cuts of beef, fresh seafood, and fine wine while surrounded by heirloom antiques and art by the likes of Warhol and Dali.
St. Lawrence Market in Old Town
If you aren’t really feeling a fancy steak dinner, head to Toronto’s Old Town neighborhood and feast your eyes (and stomach) on the array of foods that await you at St. Lawrence Market. Local merchants sell everything from fresh cheese and locally-grown produce, to culinary delights like Chinese braised pork and upside-down cranberry muffins. Go there hungry because you’ll want to try it all.
Casa Loma directions and parking
Best way to get to Casa Loma
From the south or the west, take 401 East to the Allen Expressway and head south until you reach Eglinton Avenue. Take a left and turn onto Spadina Road. From the north or east, take 401 West to the Don Valley Parkway and head south until you can go west towards Spadina Road.
Best parking near Casa Loma
There is parking at Casa Loma and George Brown College for a fee.
Casa Loma FAQs
What are Casa Loma’s hours?
Open Daily: 9:30am-5pm
How long is the average visit?
Visitors typically spend about two to three hours at the castle.
How many rooms does Casa Loma have?
The castle has 98 rooms, including 30 bathrooms, three bowling alleys, a shooting gallery, a wine cellar, and an incomplete indoor swimming pool.
How many square feet is it?
Casa Loma is 180,000 square feet.
How long did it take to build?
Casa Loma took three years to build. Construction took place from 1911 to 1914.