Category: Toronto

The Royal Ontario Museum: understanding the past, making sense of the present

The Royal Ontario Museum is Canada’s largest museum. Its collections spotlights art, culture and nature from across the world and the centuries. Located very close to the University of Toronto, its mission is to “transform lives by helping people to understand the past, make sense of the present and come together to shape a shared future.”

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Old Town Toronto walk

Old Town Toronto began as the Town of York, founded in 1793 as part of the British colony of Upper Canada. The city was incorporated in 1834 and renamed Toronto. The Great Fire of 1849 destroyed most of its wooden buildings, which were replaced by solid brick constructions, mostly Second Empire or Georgian in style.…

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“What do you mean a medieval castle in Toronto?”- You’re entitled to think someone’s pulling your leg. But no, they are not. In fact, there is such a thing in the Annex North neighbourhood: Casa Loma, a medieval inspired castle built in 1911.

9 Casa Loma

The owner, industrialist and financier Sir Henry Pellatt, had his dream home built on a hill overlooking Toronto. It took 300 men almost three years to complete. The house has fantastic views of Toronto skyline. If you go down Spadina (which I recommend so you can enjoy the peace and quiet of the Annex North), you’ll walk into the Baldwin steps surrounded by a beautiful garden. Go up to find Casa Loma.

[caption id="attachment_3259" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Toronto skyline Toronto skyline[/caption]

I loved the idea of visiting such a lovely house; however, it didn’t feel like a home. To make matters worse, it was rather warm that day and there were lots of school children visiting. As there is no air conditioning, they placed huge fans everywhere, which recirculated the warm air. Despite all that, I did enjoy the visit.

3 Casa Loma

Sir Henry and Lady Mary, his wife, lived in Casa Loma for about ten years until financial troubles caused by ill-advised investments and the First World War caused them to give it up and move to their farm. The City of Toronto owns the property.

[caption id="attachment_3262" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Lady Mary's suite Lady Mary's suite[/caption]

The main floor comprises the medieval-looking Great Hall, the library, the dining room, the conservatory, Sir Henry’s study and the billiards and smoking rooms. The second floor contains guest rooms; and Sir Henry’s and Lady Mary’s suites (hers was my favourite). The servants’ quarters (for 40 people!) are on the third floor.

[caption id="attachment_3258" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Lovely sitting room Lovely sitting room[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3261" align="aligncenter" width="660"]Garden feature Garden feature[/caption]

 

Address: One Austin Terrace, Toronto M5R 1X8

Directions (from Casa Loma website)

Go to Dupont station (located two stops north of St. George station on the Spadina- University line) and walk north two blocks on Spadina Ave. At this point, visitors have the option of climbing the Baldwin Steps (110 steps) at Spadina Ave. and Davenport Road or walking up the hill on the west side of the castle.

Go to Spadina station and take the Davenport 127 bus to Davenport & Spadina. Get off the bus and climb the Baldwin steps (110 steps ), or take the bus one stop further to Davenport and Walmer and walk up the hill on the west side of the castle.

Go to St. Clair West station on the Spadina-University line, walk east on St. Clair to Spadina, turn right (south) and keep walking (approximately 15 minutes) to the castle.

Go to St. Clair station on the Yonge line. Take the St. Clair streetcar (going West) to Spadina Road, get off and walk south on Spadina Road (approximate 10 minute walk) to Casa Loma.

I visited Casa Loma when we were still living in Toronto back in 20101 (when I had short hair!). I didn’t have a blog then so I’m making up for it now!

[caption id="attachment_3257" align="aligncenter" width="660"]I love these powder blue sofas I love these powder blue sofas[/caption]

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