Casa Loma, Toronto, Ontario (Location)
Casa Loma is a major tourist attraction in Toronto. The present day attraction is in two sections. The main living area of Casa Loma was constructed between 1911 and 1913 and is connected to the Hunting Lodge/Potting She/Greenhouse/Garage/Stables complex via an underground tunnel. The owner, Sir Henry Pellatt, and his wife lived in the Hunting Lodge complex while the main house was being constructed. The Hunting Lodge and stables were constructed in 1905.
The day that we were visiting, the temperature outside was hovering just around the freezing mark and a combination of fog and freezing drizzle combined to give an eery feeling to the visit. Inside was warm and cozy. We began our visit in the basement restaurant facility which offers a good choice of tasty foods. Tourist-style pricing applies but the food was tastier than one finds in many tourist-type locations.
After a quick snack we headed through the tunnel to look at the stables, garage and potting sheds.
The Carriage Room and the Stable area was used in the filming of the 1996 production of “Maximum Risk” and in 2000 the carriage room and stables, as well as the Oak Room, Dining Room, Great Hall, Peacock Alley, Library and Conservatory were used in the filming of X-MEN.
Mahogany stalls and Spanish tile flooring are two of the distinctive features of the carriage area and stable area.
Once we had a look around this area of the complex of buildings, we had to return to the tunnel to get back to the main Casa Loma building since there are only emergency exits from the stable and garage area.
Before heading up out of the basement, we stopped to take a look at the indoor pool and the wine cellar. In 2004, Casa Loma’s pool area was used in the filming of the movie “Pacifier”.
A number of other areas of Casa Loma have been used by the film industry, including Lady Mary’s Suite in the filming of “Cocktail”; the Oak Room and Library in the 2000 filming of “Caveman’s Valentine”; the 2nd floor hallway and the billiard room in the filming of the 1999 production of “Skulls”.
Compared to the last time that I visited Casa Loma, it appears that there is more restoration that has been completed and there appear to be more rooms than before that are open for public viewing.
Although the plumbing would have been very modern for its time in history, it is certainly different than what we would consider modern in today’s age of plastics.
The Grand Hall was completely decked out for the Holiday Season with a large Christmas tree occupying a prominent spot.
During our visit, some of the larger rooms on the main floor were being used for children’s programs such as a magic show and a puppet show. On a previous visit some of the upper floor rooms were being similarly used for other programs. This is somewhat unfortunate if you can only visit once and would like to see those rooms but, the children’s programs bring many adults and children in to see the Casa Loma, so do have their benefits.
Other films that have been shot in part in Casa Loma include the Jackie Chan thriller “Tuxedo” which used the Oak Room, Garden Room, Library and Upper Terrace; the 1996 film “Extreme Measures” which used the main floor Conservatory; and the 2002 production of “Chicago” which used the Oak Room, the Library and the Conservatory.
As mentioned at the outset, the weather outside on the day of our visit was rather overcast and foggy and this was pretty easy to see when I got to the top of the tower and gazed out over the roof structure.
Climbing up to the top was a challenge but getting back down was even more of a challenge since there were people coming up the stairs and only one way back down.
For my next visit, I hope that it is summer and the weather is better so that I can spend some time exploring the gardens that surround Casa Loma.
One section of the upper floor of Casa Loma houses a museum exhibit for The Queen’s Own Rifles and also provides insight into the role that Casa Loma played in the war years and the secret operations surrounding the manufacture of ASDIC sonar devices in the stables.
The Museum comprises five rooms with separate themes: The Formation Room 1860-1900; The Pellatt Room 1910 Trip & Pellatt items; The World War One Room 1914-1918; The World War II Room 1939-1945; the Post WWII – Korea to The Present Day. Artifacts and display items are arranged to reflect the period and the room.
Military Cross – Officer’s Bravery Decoration
WW1 War Medal
WW1 Victory Medal
Colonial Auxiliary Long Service Decoration (Officers)
Queen’s South Africa
King’s South Africa
14 – 15 War Medal
WW1 War Medal
WW1 Victory Medal
Overall, a visit to Casa Loma is an interesting way to spend a few hours or more and each time that I visit, there are other interesting things to see that I might have missed on previous visits.
Next stop: The Guild, Scarborough, Ontario