Casa Loma, Toronto

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Spanish for “Hill House,” Casa Loma is an impressive Gothic Revival style home in the heart of midtown Toronto. Originally built at the beginning of the twentieth century as a residence for Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, today Casa Loma is open to the public for tours, events, and explorations. It’s also a very popular site for movie production, with such films as X-Men, Chicago, and Scott Pilgrim vs. The World being filmed on location.

The Casa Loma experience is comprised of a few separate sections: the home, the gardens, and the tunnel (including the buildings on the other side of the tunnel). A significant portion of the home (although not all rooms) is open to the public, and many spaces can be rented for wedding and other events. Because of its location on a high hill, Casa Loma is also a great place to get distance shots of downtown Toronto and the CN Tower.

It’s an ideal destination for fans of history, art, and architecture, and has much to appeal to both adults and children. It’s also among the most famous landmarks of Toronto, so it’s an important place to visit to really get the full Toronto tourist experience.

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What’s at Casa Loma

Casa Loma is a massive historic house located in the middle of a residential neighborhood in midtown Toronto. In addition to the interior of the home, you can also explore the gardens, a historic tunnel, stables, a vintage car museum, and the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum. Here is an overview of what you’ll find in each part of Casa Loma.

Main Floor of Casa Loma

This is where you enter the attraction, and much of the public event space is located here as well. On this floor you’ll find a sizable library, Sir Henry’s study and smoking room, a formal dining room, a billiards room, and the conservatory, among others. This floor leads out onto the gardens as well.

Second Floor of the House

The second floor of the house is where the residential apartments were located, including the separate suites of Sir Henry and Lady Pellatt. You’ll also find impressively luxurious bathrooms, beautifully appointed bedrooms and sitting rooms, and sweeping views of the city below from various balconies. There’s even a sizable guest suite.

Third Floor of the House

The final floor of the house itself, the third floor is mostly of interest for the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum. This collection of historic firearms and armaments is a fascinating window into the history of early twentieth-century weaponry in Canada. Otherwise, you’ll also find servant’s quarters and three other themed rooms.

The Tunnel

One of the highlights of Casa Loma, this underground tunnel connects the main house with the hunting lodge several blocks away. It was built to facilitate passage between the two buildings without having to cross a busy series of streets. Today, the tunnel is also the location of a series of informative graphics that tell the story of the people who lived and worked at the Casa Loma estate.

The Stables

Sir Henry Pellatt was a dedicated horseman, and had a number of prized horses that he kept in these beautiful stables. While there are no horses here today, you can see the labeled plaques outside each stall that bear the name of Sir Henry’s favorites.

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Vintage Car Museum

This is one for the car buffs. Located in the garage, this exhibit contains several examples of vintage cars that were in use during the time the Pellatts lived at Casa Loma, including the iconic Ford Model T. The area is very well lit, so photographs are easy to take here.

Casa Loma Gardens

Five acres of beautiful garden covers the land around Casa Loma. With a variety of specialty garden areas – including a rose garden and wildflower patches – there’s an array of charming sights for photographs. It’s pleasant to walk among the garden and feel the spray of the fountain on a hot day, or snap pictures of the snow-covered architecture in the winter.

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Dining & Shopping Options

Casa Loma has two primary dining venues, both of which are wonderful options depending on your budget and preferred style of dining. First is the Terrace Grill, a seasonal outdoor venue with beautiful views of the gardens and downtown Toronto in the distance. The menu is a bit pricy (especially for alcoholic beverages), but they offer reasonable sandwiches and salads alongside higher-end pasta and seafood options. Because this dining option is outdoors, it’s occasionally closed due to weather conditions.

If you’re looking for something a bit more casual, Liberty Café is a good alternative. In addition to coffee/tea and pastries, they also offer sandwiches, soups, salads, wraps, and more. This venue is located in the basement level of Casa Loma, however, so you are missing out on the amazing views while dining.

The Casa Loma gift shop is also located in the basement. Originally designed as a private bowling alley, today this space is dedicated to selling souvenirs of Casa Loma, historic homes, and Canada-inspired wares. They also offer customizable gift options for those hosting weddings or corporate events as Casa Loma. Visitors with children will appreciate their varied selection of kids’ toys as well.

Tips for Visiting

  • It takes about 1.5 – 2 hours to explore the house, a bit more with the audio guides.
  • With CityPass, you get to skip the ticket line and go straight to the exhibits. However, in doing so you may miss your chance to get a map of the attraction, so make sure you ask for one on your way in.
  • Self-guided media tours – included with CityPass admission – are a must to get the full Casa Loma experience. Ask for the self-guided tour when you enter, because you do miss the regular place to pick them up by skipping the ticket line.
  • Don’t forget the gardens – they’re beautiful in their own right and they’re a great place to get distance shots of downtown Toronto.
  • Limited paid parking is available at Casa Loma, but you may be better off parking in a nearby garage and walking because of how crowded the parking lot can get.
  • Walk up through Spadina Park for an excellent first view of the house – just be aware that the steps are pretty steep!

Where to Buy It

There are a number of ways you can enjoy admission to Casa Loma.

1. Purchase a ticket from Casa Loma when you get there.

2. Purchase a Tourist pass. The Casa Loma is available on the Toronto CityPass.