Skip to content

Casa Loma: Toronto’s Haunted Gothic Revival Castle

Imagine a sprawling Gothic Revival castle in the heart of Toronto, rumored to be haunted by the spirits of its former residents. This is Casa Loma, a magnificent architectural masterpiece that beckons visitors to step back in time and explore its grand halls, secret passages, and lingering tales of the supernatural.

Casa Loma, meaning “house on the hill,” is a testament to the ambition and vision of Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent financier and socialite who dreamed of building a castle worthy of his wealth and stature.

This blog post will delve into the captivating history of Casa Loma, unraveling its architectural intricacies and exploring the intriguing ghost stories that have solidified its place as one of Toronto’s most popular attractions.

Table of Contents

The History of Casa Loma

Construction and Ownership

Casa Loma’s construction began in 1911 and lasted for three years, employing over 300 skilled craftsmen. Sir Henry Pellatt spared no expense, importing materials from around the world to create a true castle experience. The castle was built on a 5-acre property overlooking the city, with a grand ballroom, a library, a music room, and a stunning indoor swimming pool.

Despite its magnificence, Casa Loma faced financial difficulties due to Pellatt’s extravagant spending and the onset of World War I. In 1924, the castle was sold to a consortium of investors, who opened it to the public as a museum and tourist attraction. Over the years, Casa Loma has changed hands several times, with various owners preserving its architectural integrity and enhancing its visitor experience.

Life at Casa Loma

Imagine a life filled with grand balls, elaborate dinners, and the constant presence of dignitaries and celebrities. This was the reality for the Pellatts, who lived in Casa Loma with their daughter, Hazel. The castle hosted numerous lavish events, attracting prominent figures from all walks of life, solidifying its status as a social hub in Toronto.

The Pellatts’ opulent lifestyle is reflected in the castle’s interior design, characterized by its ornate decorations, rich fabrics, and luxurious furniture. Visitors today can still appreciate the grandeur of Casa Loma’s past through its beautifully preserved interiors, providing a glimpse into the lives of its former occupants.

World War I and Its Impact

The outbreak of World War I had a significant impact on Casa Loma and the Pellatts. The war effort strained Pellatt’s finances, leading to his downfall. Additionally, the castle was utilized for wartime purposes. The once luxurious residence was converted into a military training facility, with soldiers utilizing the castle’s secret passages and underground tunnels for training exercises.

This wartime transformation serves as a reminder that even the most opulent castles can be subject to the harsh realities of history, with Casa Loma’s grandeur serving as a backdrop to wartime efforts.

Architecture and Design

Gothic Revival Style

Casa Loma is an exceptional example of Gothic Revival architecture, a style that emerged in the 19th century and drew inspiration from medieval cathedrals and castles. This architectural style is characterized by its dramatic pointed arches, tall spires, elaborate ornamentation, and use of natural materials like stone and wood.

Casa Loma’s Gothic Revival elements are visible throughout the castle, from its towering turrets and gargoyles to its intricately carved stonework and stained glass windows. The castle’s design evokes a sense of grandeur and historical significance, transporting visitors to a bygone era.

Interior Design

The interior of Casa Loma is just as impressive as its exterior, showcasing a blend of Victorian and Edwardian styles. The castle features grand staircases, intricate woodwork, ornate fireplaces, and hand-painted murals.

Each room in Casa Loma is uniquely decorated, reflecting the different uses and functions of the castle. The library, with its towering bookshelves and cozy reading nooks, offers a haven for book lovers. The music room, adorned with intricate carvings and plush seating, provides a space for musical entertainment. The dining room, with its large dining table and opulent chandeliers, serves as a reminder of the grand gatherings hosted at Casa Loma.

Unique Features

Casa Loma holds many hidden treasures beyond its grand halls and opulent rooms. The castle features secret passages and underground tunnels, providing a sense of intrigue and mystery. One of the most notable features is the 98-foot-long tunnel, leading from the castle to the stables and serving as a reminder of Pellatt’s desire for privacy and security.

The castle’s underground swimming pool, with its vaulted ceilings and elaborate mosaic tilework, is another testament to Pellatt’s extravagance. These unique features add to the allure of Casa Loma, offering visitors a peek into its past and a glimpse of the creativity of its builder.

The Ghost Stories of Casa Loma

The Legend of the Lady in White

Casa Loma is renowned for its ghost stories, with the most famous legend involving the “Lady in White.” This spectral figure, rumored to be the ghost of Hazel Pellatt, is said to wander the castle’s halls, often seen in a flowing white gown.

The legend claims that Hazel, heartbroken after her father’s financial ruin, took her own life within the castle walls. Some believe her spirit remains within the castle, seeking solace and remembrance.

Other Ghostly Encounters

The legend of the Lady in White is not the only ghost story associated with Casa Loma. Several other tales of paranormal activity abound, with visitors and staff reporting unexplained noises, moving objects, and chilling presences.

Some claim to have felt the presence of Sir Henry Pellatt, while others have experienced the chilling sensation of being watched by unseen entities. These ghostly encounters add to the mystique of Casa Loma, transforming it into a destination for those seeking a thrilling and eerie experience.

Ghost Tours

For those seeking a deeper immersion in Casa Loma’s supernatural side, the castle offers guided ghost tours. These tours delve into the history of the castle and its haunting legends, providing visitors with firsthand accounts of paranormal activity and historical anecdotes.

These tours often feature tales of ghostly sightings, unexplained phenomena, and the stories behind the various spirits said to reside within the castle walls. The ghost tours offer a unique and chilling perspective on Casa Loma’s history and its enduring mysteries.

Visiting Casa Loma

Accessibility and Hours

Casa Loma is a popular tourist destination, welcoming visitors year-round. The castle is open daily from 9:30 AM to 5:00 PM, offering ample time for exploration. Visitors with disabilities can access most areas of the castle via ramps and elevators, ensuring an inclusive experience.

Ticket prices vary depending on the type of tour and special events. For those seeking a comprehensive experience, the “Casa Loma Castle & Gardens” tour is highly recommended, offering a guided exploration of the castle’s main floor, the stables, and the beautiful surrounding gardens. Additionally, audio tours are available for those who prefer to explore at their own pace.

Things to Do at Casa Loma

Beyond the grand interiors and impressive architecture, Casa Loma offers a variety of attractions and activities for visitors of all ages. Here are a few highlights:

  • Guided Tours & Audio Tours: Immerse yourself in Casa Loma’s history and learn fascinating facts about the castle and its former occupants.
  • The Conservatory: Escape the hustle and bustle of city life in the serene Conservatory, home to a collection of tropical plants and a cascading fountain.
  • The Secret Passageway: Experience the thrill of exploring the castle’s hidden passages and tunnels, offering a unique perspective on Casa Loma’s design and functionality.
  • “A Night at Casa Loma”: For a truly unforgettable experience, attend “A Night at Casa Loma,” a special event that transforms the castle into a magical setting with live music, delicious food, and a touch of enchantment.

Practical Information

  • Transportation: Casa Loma is conveniently located near the Bloor-Yonge subway station, making it easily accessible via public transportation.
  • Parking: Parking is available on-site for a fee, or visitors can opt for street parking options.
  • Nearby Restaurants and Hotels: Numerous restaurants and hotels are within a short distance of Casa Loma, offering dining options and accommodations for visitors.


Is Casa Loma really haunted?

The question of whether Casa Loma is haunted remains a topic of debate. While there is no scientific evidence to confirm the presence of spirits, numerous ghost stories and accounts of paranormal activity have cemented the castle’s reputation as a haunted landmark.

Whether you believe in the supernatural or not, the castle’s history and the enduring legends add an element of intrigue and mystery to the visitor experience.

Can I stay overnight in Casa Loma?

While Casa Loma is not currently offering overnight stays, several hotels and guesthouses within a short distance of the castle provide comfortable accommodations for visitors.

Is Casa Loma worth visiting?

Casa Loma is a must-see for visitors to Toronto, offering a unique blend of history, architecture, and intrigue. The castle’s magnificent interiors, fascinating stories, and stunning gardens create an unforgettable experience that appeals to all ages and interests.

How much time do I need to visit Casa Loma?

To fully experience the grandeur of Casa Loma and explore its gardens, allot at least 2-3 hours for your visit.

Can I take photos inside Casa Loma?

Photography is permitted inside Casa Loma, but flash photography is not allowed. Respect the castle’s historical significance and avoid touching or damaging any exhibits or furnishings.


Casa Loma stands as a testament to the ambition and vision of Sir Henry Pellatt, offering a glimpse into the opulence and grandeur of a bygone era. The castle’s architectural beauty, historical significance, and lingering ghost stories create a captivating experience that continues to fascinate visitors today.

Whether you are seeking a historical adventure, an architectural marvel, or a taste of the supernatural, Casa Loma offers a truly unique and unforgettable experience.