By: Lois Tomc

Sometimes we feel as if we have not had a real vacation if we have not been able to visit another city or far off locale.

Yet, there are many interesting points of interest within an easy commute right here in Toronto.

Recently, I had the privilege of touring Casa Loma.

I have lived in the Toronto area for over 50 years but had never experienced the history of that beautifully restored castle, which was built by Sir Henry Pellatt and his wife, Lady Mary, in the early 20th century.

Born in 1859, Sir Henry is perhaps best known for his role in bringing hydro-electricity to Toronto for the first time. He was a noted supporter of the Boy Scouts of Canada and his wife was the first Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada.

In 1911, armed with a fortune of $17 million, Sir Pellatt drew up plans. Casa Loma, with its 98 rooms, took three years and $3.5 million to build.

Unfortunately, investments did not hold for him after the First World War and he was forced to auction off his beautiful chateau.

The Pellatts moved to their farm in King Township in 1924, where Lady Mary died a year later. Sir Henry, virtually penniless, spent his final days at his chauffeur’s home in the Toronto suburb of Mimico, where he died in 1939.

However, Casa Loma remains one of Toronto’s top ten tourist attractions. Visitors can experience the castle with the aid of a free audio guide.

Why not check it out this summer, if you have not already?