The house on the hill, Casa Loma is one of the Toronto’s best attractions. Its fabulous gothic architecture and fascinating history attracts more than 650,000 every year, and it hosts over 250 private functions, weddings and special events annually. Indeed this attraction in Toronto is a must.
That being said, let’s first see the cheapest way to visit Casa Loma.
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Toronto City Pass.
The entrance ticket to Casa Loma doesn’t come cheap. It costs 30 Canadian Dollars for adults and 20 Canadian Dollars for children if you buy it on site. Meanwhile, youth from 14 to 17 and seniors over 65 pay 25 Canadian Dollars.
Children under 3 are admitted free when accompanied by a ticketed adult. Tickets also include a multimedia audio guide and entrance to the Sir Henry Pellatt documentary.
So, the cheapest way to visit Casa Loma is accessing through Toronto City Pass. I highly recommend buying the Toronto City Pass which will save you a lot of money during your stay in Toronto.
In our case, we bought the Toronto City Pass online before flying to Toronto. We paid € 75.06 each. The cost of Toronto City Pass for children is € 52.06. Along with the CN Tower, Royal Ontario Museum, Replay’s Aquarium, and Ontario Science Centre (or Toronto Zoo), Casa Loma is one of Toronto’s attractions included in Toronto City pass.
How to reach Casa Loma by Public Transport.
Casa Loma is located at One Austin Terrace near the corner of Davenport Rd. and Spadina Ave. in Toronto, Canada.
Travellers have four options to reach Casa Loma by public transportation:
- 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 (5-minute ride-during construction this service is temporarily being provided by buses), get off and walk south on Spadina Road (approximate 10-minute walk) to Casa Loma.
Parking at Casa Loma.
Are you driving on your own in Toronto? Then it is easy to reach the front of the castle by your own vehicle. In our case, we were travelling in Toronto with our rental car. Paid parking was available just by the entrance for a flat rate of $15 per vehicle. It can be paid by cash or card.
If this parking area is full, know that there is more paid parking available at George Brown College (south of Casa Loma, off Macpherson Avenue).
Know that travelling to Casa Loma with your own vehicle is the easiest way but it is not the cheapest way. More importantly, it doesn’t give you easy access to the city in case you want to stay in town after visiting the castle.
In that case using the public transport is certainly a better solution.
Upon arrival to Casa Loma, you need to buy your ticket or convert your Toronto City Pass. At this point you will be given a very good multi-language audio guide and a ground plan of the castle.
If you are visiting Casa Loma with children, keep in mind that the audio guide is a little long on details so it could be boring for them.
What is Casa Loma?
Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival Style Castle built by the visionary and renaissance financier Sir Henry Pellatt in the years preceding World War I (between 1911 and 1914) as his residence. It was a family home for less than a decade before rising taxes and the pressures of a wartime Canada forced the Pellatts to leave their dream “castle”.
In the years following, it had many reincarnations before finally being rescued and preserved as a museum. Pellatt died on 14 years after losing his dream castle in 1939.
With its five acre garden in midtown Toronto and its unique architectural character, it is one of the most important landmarks in Toronto. It stands at an elevation of 140 metres (460 ft) above sea level, 66 metres (217 ft) above Lake Ontario.
Read Also: Visiting Algonquin Park
A bit of History.
The history behind this dream castle is somewhat interesting and touching. Sir Henry Pellet, because of his financial loss, was only able to enjoy his Castle life for less than 10 years. After that, in the late 1920s, investors operated Casa Loma as a luxury hotel. It was a favourite spot for wealthy Americans looking for a vacation spot where alcohol was legally available.
The city seized Casa Loma in 1924 for unpaid taxes, and for years the building was left empty and abandoned. In the 1930s, broadcaster Claire Wallace was spending a night here to gather material for a story about ghosts and supernatural phenomena. While there, she realized that it was a shame to leave it in ruin and she later broadcasted an appeal to save the old building from demolition. Her voice was heard by the vice-president of a local Kiwanis Club, who later began operating the castle as a tourist destination. Since then the Castle has undergone many management changes and renewals which gradually upgraded the castle and helped it to become an important landmark for Toronto.
In January 2014, the city of Toronto awarded the long-term lease of the historic Casa Loma to Liberty Entertainment Group. Liberty Entertainment Group’s President & CEO Nick Di Donato continues to prove his commitment to preserving this historic Toronto attraction, with numerous improvements.
Today, this historical museum is one of North America’s most enchanting tourist attractions in Toronto and also one of the best special event venues in Toronto.
How much time you need to explore Casa Loma.
From grandly furnished rooms to beautiful gardens, from underground tunnels to stairs leading up the tower, from the basement to its third floor, from stables to its amazing exterior, this beautiful building has something to intrigue everybody. We spent almost four hours visiting Casa Loma Castle and sincerely, it’s well worth the visit.
This enormous house with 98 gorgeous rooms has many stories to tell, and its five acres of grounds and gardens are a peaceful respite in a bustling modern city.
History lovers can spend even more time here.
Accessibility at Casa Loma.
Since Casa Loma was built between 1911 and 1914 it was built without accessibility considerations, so it could be hard for some visitors. There are many stairs here. However, it is mostly accessible, other than the towers and servants quarters. I suggest you make sure of this by contacting them before buying your tickets.
Casa Loma Things to know.
- The Halloween party at Casa Loma is said to be very intriguing. So try to frame your visit accordingly if you are around the area during that period.
- Casa Loma is popular for wedding ceremonies. It also hosts some events like concerts, photo shoots, exhibits, and private parties.
- An inconvenience could happen if you find yourself visiting Casa Loma Castle during private ceremonies and parties. Many rooms could be closed to the public, and also the parking could be full so that you have to go around and around to find a place to leave your car. I highly recommend that you check on this issue before booking your ticket.
- During WWII, Casa Loma concealed a sonar research and construction facility in its stables.
- Architect E.J. Lennox was hired by Pellet to project this building. He gave the great architect complete freedom on projecting his dream castle. Lennox is known in Canada for Toronto’s Old City Hall and the Power Station in Niagara Falls.
- Casa Loma’s 800ft underground tunnel is said to house a ghost, who is rumored to make strange noises and even pull at people’s hair!
- Casa Loma has been a popular filming location for movies and television (X-Men, Robocop, MasterChef Canada, and more).
- When it was built, it was the largest private residence in Canada.
- They called Sir Henry Pellatt “crazy” for building a medieval castle in Canada.
- During the years while Sir Henry Pellet lived at Casa Loma Castle, out of the 200 phones in Toronto, the castle had 50 of them.
- Casa Loma offers many dining options. There are three restaurants on the estate. Grab a snack or a quick cup of coffee at Liberty Café in between your explorations of Casa Loma. Dine under a magnificent stained-glass dome at internationally acclaimed Don Alfonso 1890 Toronto, or feel like nobility and feast on Toronto’s best steak at the BlueBlood Steakhouse.
- The house came in at around $3.5 million in 1914. That’s to say almost $100 million today! Took 299 workers three years to build. Only delayed by the start of World War I.
- During the month of December, the Christmas lights are up and many activities are organized so it is bit more crowded than on normal days. Tons of families with kids and children go to Casa Loma for various Christmas activities. The castle is even more fascinating when the Christmas lights are on.
- Pets are not allowed at Casa Loma with the only exception of guide dogs.
Besides its interesting history, Casa Loma has a wonderful location. Since we are talking about a house on the hill in the city of Toronto, it offers fantastic views.
I have to admit that if you’re coming from Italy or Europe in general there are probably more interesting places to visit in your country since we have a lot of history back home. But still Casa Loma is a nice place to visit! Let’s also not forget that to this day it remains one of the only true castles in North America and nothing was held back in its construction, from the materials used to each individual detail.
Now, I believe these are valid reasons why it should definitely be on your Toronto itinerary.
Are you road-tripping in Ontario? Then check out this “80 fun and interesting facts about Ontario“