advertisement

Canada's best known castle, the elegant 98-room Casa Loma, was originally the home of Canadian financier Sir Henry Pellat. To create this stunning home, he imported wood and furnishings from around the world, and brought stonemasons from Scotland to fashion the walls. It took 300 men working from 1911 to 1914 to complete. It was, for many decades, the largest private residence in Canada. Today it's one of the most popular stops for visitors to Toronto (up to 300,000 visit each year), and for corporate events, weddings, and film shoots. It has been used as a location for more than 20 major movies, including "Chicago" and "X-Men." Casa Loma sits on what seems to be a hill, but is actually the shoreline of ancient Lake Iroquois, the predecessor of Lake Ontario. There's lots to explore: secret passages, towers, stables connected by an 800-foot tunnel, and 5 acres of garden that are open May through October. The furnished rooms include some unique features that were ahead of their time, such as the shower in Sir Henry Pellatt's personal bathroom, which completely surrounds the body with spray from 6 taps. Self-guided audio tours are included with entrance fees. Tours for groups are also available.