Casa Loma, which is Spanish for 'Hill House' is a popular tourism destination in Toronto. It once served as the residence for Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, but today is a museum. Construction for the location first broke ground in 1911. The architect of the project was EJ Lennox, who was responsible for a number of the most popular locations in a number of Canadian cities.
It was in 1903 that Sir Henry Pellatt first purchased more than 25 different lots from developers for his mansion. He quickly hired Lennox to design and build the mansion. The first structures that aware built were the huge stables and Hunting Lodge that are just a quarter mile away from the main building. As soon as the Hunting Lodge was finished, Sir Henry sold his summer home to his son, and moved into the hunting lodge. By the time that the main house was completed, it has run him more than $3.5 million. He had to employ a team of 300 workers for more than three years to construct the house.
Construction on the Casa Loma was paused due to the start of World War 1. At the time, a total of 98 rooms had been completed, making it the largest residence in Canada at the time. It was the only home that had an elevator at the time, and also had an oven that was large enough to cook an entire ox. There were also plans to build as many as three bowling alleys, even though they were never fully completed.
A large portion of the third story was never finished. At the start of World War 1, Sir Henry enlisted as a Rifleman but quickly rose through the ranks to become a Commanding Officer. He was later knighted for his dedication and service to the country.
Following the war, Pellatt was faced with a number of financial difficulties that eventually forced him to auction off a number of pieces of artwork and furnishings that were inside the house. He lived in his mansion for less than ten years, eventually leaving the residence in 1923. Following his departure, Casa Loma operated for a short time as a luxury hotel. In the late 1920's, it became a nightclub that garnered attention from a number of the most prestigious individuals in the area.
In 1933, the city seized Casa Loma after nearly $30,000 in taxes had gone unpaid. By that time, the castle was in a state of disarray and required many repairs before it could be opened once again. Eventually, the Kiwanis Club leased the building and started work on a 15 year restoration period to get Casa Loma back into operating shape.
Outside of Casa Loma, there are five acres of gardens, complete with an underground tunnel that connects the home to the hunting lodge and also to the stables. The third floor was eventually completed, and now contains The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada Regimental Museum, a popular tourist attraction inside of the estate.
Casa Loma is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada. Its high ceilings and excellent design have made it a staple of Canada.
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