Sunday, May 3, 2009

Casa Loma


Casa Loma sits on the crest of what passes for a hill in Toronto. Toronto is so flat, if you stand on a step ladder, you'll get a view. It was built by industrialist Sir Henry Pellatt in 1914. The Pellatts aspired to live in a castle, so they built one at great cost, and just like the Vanderbilts' far grander Biltmore Estate, even they couldn't to live there for very long. As a starred Toronto attraction, it missed the mark for me. Unlike the grand estates in Newport, Rhode Island, there's an unfinished feel to the restoration. The dining hall and conservatory are vast, empty rooms. I was also surprised at the lack of staff attendance. One is left to wander unmonitored, unlike the grand houses of Europe, which might explain the graffiti in the empty attic towers.

Across the street is the stables. I liked this exterior much more than the house itself. Inside, however, there wasn't much there. The garages had tables and chairs, presumably left over from some event. The horse stalls themselves were tiled, exactly like those at Buckingham Palace, which I suspect was not an accident. There were pictures of the Pellatt's automobiles, but it would be nice if they were able to acquire one like theirs just to have something to look at, especially after making a surprisingly long trek through a wet tunnel to and from the house. There were several puddles without so much as a 'caution' sign. Whomever is managing Caaa Loma needs more money and staff.

The neighborhood on the 'hill' is quite attractive, featuring houses like this one, directly across the street.