Did you know that Canada has its own Castles? One of the most famous Canadian castles is located right in Toronto – Casa Loma. Casa Loma is one of Toronto’s major tourist attractions with thousands of visitors a year. Add Casa Loma as one of your top things to do while visiting Toronto!
Visiting Casa Loma at Christmas is one of my favorite holiday travel events. Casa Loma indeed is a Winter Wonderland in Toronto.
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Casa Loma Castle History
Casa Loma, one of Toronto’s Mansions, was built by Sir Henry Pellatt and took three years and $3.5 million to build. This private home has 98 rooms, secret passageways, and tunnels to additional spots on the grounds.
Pellatt’s lifelong dream was to live in a medieval castle, and he brought that dream to life on the outskirts of Toronto. Casa Loma is on a large hill overlooking the city.
Casa Loma has three main floors, towers, and a large garden, all available to the public to walk around and explore Sir Pellatt’s vast fortune.
Pellatt was only able to enjoy his Castle for about 10 years. This enormous castle, and some additional hardships, eventually cause Sir Henry Pellatt to become bankrupt.
Today, Casa Loma has been the star in a number of movies including X-Men (2000), Chicago (2002), and The Vow (2012).
Touring Casa Loma Castle
Touring Casa Loma Castle is a great indoor activity to do in Toronto at any time during the year. We tour Casa Loma At Christmastime so you will see a lot of Christmas trees and decorations throughout the photos.
Casa Loma is open daily at 9:30 am with the last admission at 4:30 pm. I would budget at least 2-3 hours to see everything Casa Loma has to offer.
It took us a little over 4 hours to tour Casa Loma which included a small lunch break. No food or drinks are permitted in rooms of Casa Loma, but there is a café located on the lower floor.
Before entering Casa Loma, make sure to take a photo of the Castle before there are large groups of people in your shot. We arrive 30 minutes after Casa Loma opened and I was able to get a good shot of the castle, even though it was a dreary, wintery day.
The tickets to Casa Loma are $30 per adult, or you can get a discount if bought through Toronto City Pass. Parking is an additional $10. Each ticket also includes an audio tour which I highly recommend using!
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The Second Story of Casa Loma
The second story of Casa Loma is one of my favorites. The bedrooms, bathrooms, and gorgeous views of the Great Hall are all accessible on the second floor.
My two favorite rooms are Sir Henry’s Pellatt’s suite and Lady Pellatt’s Suite. While you are in these rooms, you will step back in time with all of the beautiful decorations and furniture left in the rooms.
Getting Around Casa Loma
We were able to successfully navigate around Casa Loma’s three floors, basement, and most of the tunnel with mom’s transport chair. The first floor was smaller and easy to navigate.
The only time we had to get out of the chair was to go outside to view the gardens and to visit the atrium dome area.
We were able to navigate the entire second floor without any issues. My favorite sections of the second floor saw the different bedrooms for the family members and guests.
Since I visited during the holiday season, each room was elaborated decorated with Christmas trees and holiday décor. If you can visit Casa Loma during this season, it is worth the extra effort to see all the gorgeous decorations.
Accessibility Around Casa Loma
Knowing that Casa Loma was going to be an older building, I was worried about accessibility to the different floors. Casa Loma’s website gave me a complete list of what was accessible and what wasn’t, which was a great way to plan on what we could see.
Our family pushed the limits (as we always do on vacation) for what mom could maneuver. The hardest area for us to get around was the gardens and trying to navigate the tunnels.
Luckily there are a limited number of wheelchairs available to rent for free, but we brought out own transport chair.
Using the Elevator in Casa Loma Castle
If your party has anyone with mobility issues, please note that those with special needs pay regular admissions while their escort is admitted for free.
The elevator is one of the coolest things about visiting Casa Loma.
The elevator was put in because Lady Mary Pellatt often needed a wheelchair in her grand home. The lift is a manual elevator that only the staff can operate. Only those with accessibility issues can use the elevator.
Like navigating most places with mobility issues, the busier Casa Loma got, the more congested the elevators were. Luckily, we were a party of three so if the elevator took a long time, either my sister or I would go to the main floor to catch someone to assist with the lift.
Overall, as long as an employee saw that we needed the elevator, using the lift was an easy and smooth experience.
The Castle Towers
Unfortunately, the castle towers are not accessible to those with mobility issues – and they are kind of hard on those who have no mobility issues!
The stairs and pretty steep and winding so I don’t suggest walking into the tower if your blood sugar is down because I did get a little dizzy while walking up the towers.
Climbing up both towers is worth the scenery and view. When climbing up the stairs, you will notice that there is a lot of graffiti.
There was a period where the castle was abandoned, and people would break into the castle and write on the bricks proving that they were here.
Even though some of the dates are current – do not vandalize the castle. All guests are under surveillance, and I would hate to see what would happen if you got caught.
Christmastime at Casa Loma Castle
During Christmas time, there are many unique and exciting things going on that you will want to visit! The entire Castle turns into a Winter Wonderland and huge Christmas Trees deck out the many bedrooms throughout the castle.
There are different activities throughout the week leading up to Christmas time including, cookie decorating, and Christmas characters and even Santa Claus!
The main hall has a 25-foot Christmas tree, there are traditional decorations throughout the hallway and bedrooms. There are so many activities for kids and adults that spending time in Toronto during Christmas makes your trip extra special.
After visiting Casa Loma, make sure to head over to the Black Creek Pioneer Village or the Distillery District Christmas Market to fill up on delicious treats and mulled wine.
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