Casa Loma: The Historically Secret Breathtaking Private Residence
The majestic Casa Loma is one of the most distinctive landmarks in Toronto. More than 350,000 tourists pass through the hall annually, wondering at the mesmerizing beauty and elegance of a bygone era.
The fanciful gothic structure along with its fascinating history and haunted stories has made this once a grand home a breathtaking destination for visitors who are eager to taste the life Canada offered a hundred years ago.
Built between 1911 and 1914 atop Davenport Hill overlooking downtown Toronto, the Casa Loma, the Spanish name for Hill House was designed by architect E.J. Lennox on the order of his owner, financier Sir Henry Pellatt.
Pellatt was the founder of the Toronto Electric Light Company, built-in 1833 and then the chairman of twenty-one companies by the turn of the 20th century, he built the first hydrogenating plant at the Niagara Falls.
The construction of the house took about three years spending about $3.5 million. It was the largest home after completion of the entire continent of North America.
Pellatt gathered artwork around the world for decorating Casa Loma and the large rooms of the castle accommodated the Pellatt’s busy social calendar and grand parties.
Unfortunately, the Pellatts made some bad financial decisions, sunk deeply into debt and eventually been declared bankrupt. However, the house was abandoned in 1924 and the Pellatts moved to their country home.
After this, Casa Loma became one of the most popular nightspots. In 1937, the property was purchased by the city and the Toronto Kiwanis Club volunteered its operations since then, before which this private residence served as a hotel.
Covering an area of five acres the architecture of Casa Loma indicates the lavishing styles similar to the castles built during the Edwardian era. The Grand Hall of the castle has been decorated artistically with 6o feet ceilings and sculpted figurines adorning the beautiful pillars.
The floorings and walls have been beautifully decorated with the marbles from Italy and Ontario respectively. The castle also has a library that is boasted with lovely herringbone-patterned oak floorings with Pellatts’ coat of arms emblazoned on the ceiling.
Casa Loma’s long history has often been riddled with spooky tales about strange noises, voices apparitions and unseen hands grabbing the visitors. The staff, as well as the tourists at the Casa Loma, have reported episodes of haunting.
The second floor is decorated as beautifully as the rest of the castle and consists of six bedrooms including Sir Henry’s with walnut and mahogany walls. The restroom designed in the modern 21st-century amenities with state of the art shower featuring six taps, controlled by three levels of water for a complete comfortable body shower.
The Norman Tower and the Scottish Tower composes the third and the topmost floor of the castle. The Norman Tower is an open area, from where stunning breathtaking views of the city can be enjoyed, while the Scottish Tower has been enclosed and no one is allowed to climb it.
The gardens are lovely for exploration and include several perennial flowers having a variety of colours as well as pretty fountains and sculptures. This 98-room castle-like private residence was augmented by Victorian-style gardens, a marble-clad warmed by steam pipes.
The staff of the hotel have often reported seeing a White Lady, which seems the most popular ghosts in the residence. Moreover, many guests and staff at the cafeteria attest witnessing a woman dressed in white, wandering and haunting the palace. She is believed to be a help who worked at the palace during the early 1900s.
Even the previous owners of Casa Loma, the Pallatts seem to haunt the palace and during an outdoor function in Casa Loma gardens, a young boy reported the sightings of a man at a second-floor window.
However, the second floor was locked at the time and the description of the boy matched shockingly with the previous owner, Sir Henry Pallatt. However, hauntings by Lady Pallatt were seldom reported.
Haunted Stories of Casa Loma:
People say the demise in financial conditions forced the couple to leave Casa Loma and this led the unsatisfied spirits of the owners to haunt their beloved home.
There is an underground tunnel, reportedly creepy from where strange noises have been heard by the visitors and a playful spirit grabs people by their arms and pulling their hair occasionally.
Casa Loma is not just a luxurious living and ballroom, rather it has several military secrets of lurked into the stables of the palace from the period of the Second World War. During the period German U-boats began threatening the shipping services operating between Britain and North America.
For combating with this threat, Britain developed the ASDIC device, which worked similar to sonar and traced the U-boats from a distance of 8km and they required a secret laboratory for its operations.
William Corman, a Canadian engineer was assigned the task of finding a place and he came up with the idea of using Toronto’s famous Casa Loma’s stables as the research laboratory. His ideas work well and the councillors were kept in the dark about this.
The unsuspecting tourists of Casa Loma were unaware of the military action in progress until decades later this secret came to the light of the public.
Casa Loma in Hollywood:
The spectacular castle along with its grand interiors and secret passageways served as an ideal setting for several Hollywood Movies. The Tuxedo featured the ballroom, exteriors and the hallways; The Perfect Man’s wedding venue pictured the romantic essence of the Conservatory of Casa Loma.
Hollywood’s heartthrob, Richard Gere’s office in Chicago utilized the elegant designs of the Oak Room. Lady Pallatt’s suit served as the prime location for Cocktail, starring Tom Cruise. The creepy tunnels that lead its way from the stables served as the backdrop scenes in X-Men and Jean Claude Van Damme’s Maximum Risk.
Whether or not Casa Loma is haunted, it has certainly made its name for itself among the ghost hunters.
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