Canada #25 Casa Loma
On a hill overlooking the city of Toronto stands a Gothic Revival mansion, once home to the fabulously wealthy Pellatt family. Casa Loma, Spanish for Hill House, was built between 1911 and 1914. Now owned by the City of Toronto, the house and gardens are visited each year by more than half a million people.
There are 98 rooms in the house, some sumptuously decorated while others have remained unfinished since work stopped at the start of the First World War. From the grandeur of the Great Hall to the opulent private suites of Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife Lady Mary Pellatt, there’s an exaggerated sense of luxury.
But the most beautiful room in this enormous house is also the least adorned.
The conservatory, designed in the style of a Mediterranean courtyard, is tiled with Italian marble. Garden beds lined with local marble from Bancroft, Ontario overflow with orchids, lilies and lush greenery.
Water plays over an ornamental fountain at one end of the conservatory; it sparkles in the sunlight shining through high arched windows.
The gaze of every visitor is drawn upwards to a central dome of elaborate stained glass. Decorated with trailing grapevines, the dome glows in the sunshine while at night 600 lightbulbs illuminate the delicate designs.
With a room as charming as this in their house, it’s a wonder Henry and Mary ever used the rest.