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Sir Henry Pellatt:

 

King of Casa Loma

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Spotting the Castle 

 

 

 

With more than 350,000 visitors annually, Casa Loma continues to be one of Toronto, Ontario's premiere tourist attractions. From its imposing stone gates to its magnificent gardens, terraced grounds, mediaeval turrets and 98 rooms, this fairytale castle is both impressive and bewildering; one cannot help but wonder about the kind of man who would build such a home for himself. The material on this site comes primarily from the biography: Sir Henry Pellatt: The King of Casa Loma.

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Find out about a man who, when he began construction of  his castle in 1911, was said to be one of the 23 people who owned Canada. Ebullient, charming and manipulative, he had risen from virtual bankruptcy to accumulate a staggering fortune--largely through his nimble, if not always ethical nor legal, activities as aCopy of pellatt2.JPG (11725 bytes) financier and stock trader and ended his life living with his chauffeur's family in a tiny house. Yet he was a leader in an age of unfettered capitalism, instrumental in the economic development of Canada and he is a prime example of the unpredictability of fate. 

Casa Loma, the House on the Hill, arose from the imagination and ambition of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, who was a financier, royalist and passionate military officer. Following in the footsteps of plutocrats in America, he built this 98-room structure to advertise his wealth and standing and to provide a fitting site for visiting royalty. He and his architect drew on the architecture and decor of European castles in designing the structure and outfitting the rooms but he ran out of interest and money before it could be completed. Nevertheless he spent almost ten heady years as the unannointed king of Casa Loma and when he was forced to leave his critics called the castle a folly and Sir Henry a fool. But few can look at the structure today without feeling a touch of admiration and be thankful that it wasn't, in fact, torn down, as it had come close to being.

 

There is a certain poetic neatness to Sir Henry's life. It is as elegant and complete as a Shakespearean sonnet. When Henry was born in Kingston Ontario, his father was broke. Pellatt Sr. left there with little more than a silver tray and a goblet he received from his friends and business associates. When Sir Henry was at the height of his fortunes, he had two farms, a thousand acre retreat at King, a magnificent castle, dozens of servants, gardeners, cars, prized horses, he wore a huge diamond ring on his little finger, and he was reverently called Sir Henry. When he died, about all he had left was the diamond, this title and the silver tray and goblet, not much more than would fit into a few trunks, or a dozen bags.

Casa Loma is owned by the City of Toronto and has been operated by the Kiwanis Club of West Toronto since 1937. The Club uses its share of the proceeds to aid young people, senior citizens and the mentally ill. In its extensive youth programs it focuses on education, musical, physical and spiritual elements. If it was not for the Kiwanis' intervention, Casa Loma might have ceased to exist,  turned into rubble and only remembered in photographs, the site nothing more than a clutch of houses or apartments.

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1969 Glenada Cres., Oakville, Ontario, Canada, L6H 4M8
Electronic mail
General Information: writenow2020@yahoo.com
Site and King of Casa Loma Author:
             Carlie (charles) Oreskovich
 

 

 

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