A kitschy glitch in the city’s skyline to locals, this castle on a hill offers an inspiring view of the sweep of the city. But while you can admire the view for free, it’s worth visiting the interior of the castle, too. The elegant rooms and period furniture are appropriately grand. If you’re up for it, climb the towers (one Norman, one Scottish, both great).
Sir Henry Pellatt, who built Casa Loma between 1911 and 1914, had a lifelong fascination with castles. He studied medieval palaces and gathered materials and furnishings from around the world, bringing marble, glass, and paneling from Europe; teak from Asia; and oak and walnut from North America. He imported Scottish stonemasons to build the massive walls that surround the site.
Wander through the majestic Great Hall, with its 18m-high (59-ft.) hammer-beam ceiling; the Oak Room, where three artisans took 3 years to fashion the paneling; and the Conservatory, with its elegant bronze doors, stained-glass dome, and pink-and-green marble. The castle encompasses battlements and a tower; Peacock Alley, designed after Windsor Castle; and a 1,800-bottle wine cellar. A 244m (801-ft.) tunnel runs to the stables, where Spanish tile and mahogany surrounded the horses.
The tour is self-guided; pick up an audiocassette, available in eight languages, upon arrival (it’s included in the price of admission).
After the castle closes, Escape Casa Loma takes over the grounds. This series of escape games—based loosely around the castle’s history—bring riddle solvers to sections of Casa Loma that are closed to visitors on the regular tour. The unfinished underground pool, which has been turned into a musky cinema where you’ll be briefed on the rules of the game, sets the tone for an immersive quasi-historical experience.