Thursday Doors – April 19, 2018

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Casa Loma – Toronto

Note: This week’s post is in two parts with the second written by everyone’s blog buddy Joanne Sisco over at My Life Lived Full

While we were in Toronto a few weeks ago we were finally able to meet up with Joanne for a doorscursion.

I say “finally”, because Joanne and I have known each other through WordPress for about four years and despite the fact that we both have traveled, or made plans to travel to each other’s cities a number of times, something has always prevented us from meeting.

This time the stars aligned. No one was injured or sick so our plans to meet at Casa-Loma in mid-town Toronto actually came through.

Added bonus: As I expected we all got along swimmingly and contrary to what they say about people you meet on the internet, it turns out that neither one of us is an ax-murderer…yet 😉

After checking out the main house, you can hop on over to see Joanne’s post which takes you across the street via an 800 foot (250 meter) underground tunnel for a closer look at Casa Loma’s stables.

Now a museum owned and operated by the city Casa Loma, or House on the Hill, was built by mega-wealthy Toronto financier Sir Henry Mill Pellat.

Pellat’s wealth was amassed through his investments, primarily his stake in the Toronto Electric Light Company which first brought hydro-electric power from Niagara Falls and included a very lucrative monopoly to provide street lighting for the entire city.

Costing roughly $3.5 million in 1911 dollars it took 300+ workers a little over three years to build the 103-room 65,000 square foot (6,040 square meter) Gothic Revival mansion.

Casa Loma is still to this day the largest personal residence ever built in Canada.

My first impression when walking into the great room just inside the entrance was of another famously over-the-top rich guy residence we visited a few years ago in California, Hearst Castle built by American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst.

A small part of the Great Room

My second impression as I said to the ladies was that of the building saying to the world on behalf of its owner, “F*ck you – I’m filthy rich and you’re not!”

Seriously; as much as the place is impressive, such ostentatious displays of wealth and power are usually reserved for the Catholic Church 😉

The library

It would take a few thousand words to describe all the impressive features in this place. Since I’ve already used way more words and photos than normal for this post if you’re interested in learning more, the link above takes you to the museum’s official website.

Sitting room off the library

In the meantime let’s look at some of the doors and other details!

Doors to the conservatory

Stained glass dome in the conservatory

If you’ve ever visited any of the grand old buildings of this world you know that we’re meant to be impressed by the scale of things, but what truly makes these places so impressive is the craftsmanship and the quality of the materials used in all of the fine details.

Be it carvings, paintings, tapestries, marble, ceramics, furniture, rugs, or any of the thousands of fine furnishings and accessories that go into places like this, it becomes immediately apparent that someone was paying very close attention to all of these little details here.

Pellatt’s personal suite. Mrs. P’s chambers were across the hall…I guess nocturnal “visits” were by appointment only.

There were a number of different curved rooms that followed the shape of the towers they were built into.

Moldings, paneling, and even the doors were all hand-made to follow the same curve.

Of course if there are towers involved curious folk will try to go up those towers.

Major coincidence or a phone call to discuss what to wear before showing up? Both ladies were wearing purple tops and black slacks

We made it to the top just fine and the payoff was an awesome view of the surrounding area as well as architectural features that were not so obvious from the ground.

We took in the view for a few minutes before heading back down.

During the latter stages of WWI Pellatt’s fortunes took a turn for the worse. Anti-industrialist populist sentiments were stirred up by certain politicians of the day, leading the province of Ontario to expropriate Pellatt’s electric company to form what would become the publicly-owned Ontario Hydro.

Then stripped of his main source of revenue, city legislators raised Pellatt’s property taxes on Casa Loma from $600 a year to $1000 per month, making it virtually impossible for him to keep up.

All tolled, after selling many of his real-estate holdings and having to auction off over $1.75 million worth of art and furnishings for a fraction of what they were worth Pellatt could no longer afford his beloved Casa Loma.

After living there less than 10 years he was forced to abandon the property to the city in 1923.

The property has undergone a number of restorations over the years and despite having come fairly close to meeting the wrecking ball, today it’s a popular tourist attraction and a sought-after location for film shoots and special events.

Now don’t forget after adding your link to this week’s link-up list, head on over to Joanne’s post to check out the stables.

As always, I thank you for reading 🙂

Please click on this blue button to add the link to your own Thursday Doors post to this week’s list:

If you share your posts on Twitter and Instagram remember to use the #ThursdayDoors hashtag and please do take a few minutes to visit the Thursday Door posts shared by others.

About Norm 2.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
Gallery | This entry was posted in Photography, Thursday Doors and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

78 Responses to Thursday Doors – April 19, 2018

  1. Pingback: Thursday Doors: Secrets – My Life Lived Full

  2. Pingback: Thursday Doors: Macau – Thoughts of a Wanderer

  3. Great post, Norm! And the picture of the unicorn is awesome!


  4. Helen Bushe says:

    What an amazing residence!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Amy says:

    This is a stunning piece of architecture Norm. Thanks so much for sharing it. It is nice to be able to enjoy viewing, but definitely leaves you with the strange thought of “did you really need all that space and what about all the money that had to be put into that kind of detail work?” I guess it’s no different that all those house tours they like to show on TV. Give me a shack by the ocean and I’d be content (however, I’m not delusional and know how much that shack would actually cost. location. location. location. lol)

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Leah says:

    While I certainly agree with you about the over-the-top show of wealth, Casa Loma is amazing! The architectural details are stunning, particularly the curved rooms (and doors!). My mind is whirling, just thinking of the skill that went into creating the place.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. marianallen says:

    Mom and I visited Casa Loma on our trip to Toronto back in the day. That was before cell phone cameras and before Thursday Doors, but you’ve more than made up for my lack of evidence. Gorgeous place! I actually feel sorry for Mr. Pellatt. He created a beautiful place; it’s sad that he had to leave his dream. But maybe he should have built smaller and given more to the community? I still feel sorry for him.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Pistachios says:

    Unbelievable! How long did it take to get through the whole place? Not only is it gigantic, but stopping to take in all the details, etc probably could’ve taken all day. Just looking through your photos is incredible. No wonder it took them 3 years to build!

    P.S. I liked your quip about the Catholic Church – really lol’d at that one!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      We got there just before 10:00 in the morning and left a little after 2:00 so yeah, it took a good part of the day; it was worth it though. The one thing I’d recommend is getting there early to avoid the crowds. By the time we left the place was packed.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Andrea R Huelsenbeck says:

    A unicorn! What a gorgeous place. Thanks for the pictures.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. dennyho says:

    I love your and Joanne’s joint venture! And I do agree with your comparison to Hearst Castle. It’s been years since I’ve visited but the memories are somewhat vivid. “I’m rich!” did seem to be the sentiment. Great photos and backstory Norm.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Denise. Hubris is a word that comes to mind in cases like this, though I guess it’s no different than the castles and chateaus built by royals all across Europe.


  11. beautiful museum and beautiful doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Ally Bean says:

    Amazing glimpse into how some people lived. Kind of over the top by my standards, but the doors are magnificent. Great photos, as usual.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. slfinnell says:

    Well that’s it then. You’ve once again inspired me. Been trying to meet with a fellow quilt blogger for a few years now and every time we hit a snag. Lovely doors this week and thanks again 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. reocochran says:

    Norm, this must have been such a riot and what a fun way your get together went! Two women in black pants and purple shirts! 💜 Haha!
    The beautiful stained glass dome was my favorite part.
    The stone walls with their formation of rectangular peaks was impressive. All the doors were gorgeous, except practical one. The Casa Loma was a fascinating story and place to see!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Way over the top — and that’s not just the doors! What a great place to visit!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. jesh stg says:

    Everything is exuding wealth here! The first door is a very interesting take on a gothic inspired door and the glass ones opulant. The friendship with Joanne is one of the great sides on the internet. and blogging. Last time I was in Holland I met up with a Dutch blogger, and it was a delightful day. I also have met several married couples (in the USA) who met on the internet.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Great post. Some parts of the building look so over-the-top familiar that I wonder whether I’ve seen it in a movie. Or maybe every o-t-t castle is the same…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. How wonderful that the stars finally aligned and you and Joanne were finally able to meet-up!

    This house is amazing! The quality and craftsmanship is top notch and probably out of reach today. Who does this kind of work anymore with wood, metal, brick and stone? The whole place is a work of art. I wonder who the architect and curator were? I’ll have to go look at the link.

    I think it was pretty rotten of the city to boost his property taxes to $1000 a month. Purposely screwing him out of his home. Thankfully, it’s still standing and a place for the public to enjoy though.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Deborah. It was a fun day indeed. Yes the entire place IS a work of art. Just like Hearst Castle they don;t build places like this anymore because no one can afford places like this 😀
      Pellatt did get a raw deal from people who should have know better. A good reminder I guess to be very careful of the enemies you make.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. JT Twissel says:

    That’s quite a palatial place – that’s a great shot of J but I have to point out – she is behind bars so are you sure there’s something you’re not telling us?

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Aimer Boyz says:

    Thanks for these pictures, Norm. Casa Loma is one of my favourite places. Your pictures tell me it’s time for another visit 🙂
    I heard that Pellet ended up living with his butler, fortune gone….

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Ohh, my, what a place! Fancy seeing a familiar face! I suppose you didn’t have a purple top, that’s why you’re missing in the photos. 😀 I can’t promise to take you into anything as grand as this. Here things are more or less in ruins, unless it’s a church, as you say. Exquisite details and photos!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thank you Manja. It was a fun day and we got to hang out with one of the cool kids 😉
      No purple top for me though, I think the ladies deliberately left me out of the loop on that one.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. joey says:

    I like the roof door, glad you included that.
    “Seriously; as much as the place is impressive, such ostentatious displays of wealth and power are usually reserved for the Catholic Church” — awesome. It’s obscene, isn’t it? On the one hand it’s beautiful and incredible and creative and so much artistic display and on the other hand it’s obscene.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Joey. You’re right about there being two sides to the coin and at times I don’t know which side I land on. Should I be horrified that someone would go to such excess or marvel at the beauty and artistic merit of it all? Perhaps a bit of both, I guess.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Sherry Felix says:

    Double Wow! I love the conservatory doors. This building is a treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Retirement Reflections says:

    Hi, Norm – I popped over here from Joanne’s site. I love that the two of you finally had the chance to meet up. Great posts from each of you…and stunning photos!

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Jennie says:

    Wow! You have outdone yourself, Norm. Even a unicorn was present. Quite sad how the city turned on him.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. conspicari says:

    What a stunning building, some great doors and that stained glass dome.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Tara says:

    Curved doors and stained glass — very cool. Some of the other stuff… I think if I had THAT much money, I would find something better to spend it on that endless chandeliers and carvings in the ceiling, oh, and the unicorn horse sculpture thingy. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Wow! I really enjoyed this, Norm. I would never have thought Casa Loma had been a private residence. Applesauce! What beautiful, intricate details. I loved those brass & glass doors and the curved tower rooms. Spectacular. Off to visit Joanne. Hugs.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Teagan. Even if I had the money I couldn’t imagine myself ever living in a place like this. Spectacular yes, but way too much for a private residence, in my view.


  29. Lynn says:

    Loved reading both your version & Joanne’s version. Casa Loma is such a beautiful place, the conservatory is my favourite! As I mentioned to Joanne, we attended a wedding there a number of years ago but I have never done an actual tour of the place. I had no idea there were stables down the road along with a very stunning coach house!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Dan Antion says:

    Very enjoyable post, Norm. I like your slant on the mega wealthy, but in the end, he gave you guys a wonderful treasure. I could never imagine or understand even wanting to build a residence like this. But, if I did, it would have curved doors and pointed arched doors, because I’d love to see them being made. Who am I kidding, I’d like to make one! Your point about the craftsmanship really rings true. It took amazing skills to build these places, and the furniture, construction details and the doors. Thanks for sharing them, Norm!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Dan. I left having mixed feelings about this guy. On the one hand it’s hard to feel sorry for someone who had so much and squandered much of it on his project of folly, but at the same time you can’t deny that the seemingly coordinated effort to screw him over was what did him in.
      And yes he did leave us a wonderful treasure 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  31. My favorite is the first door. You’re right, the craftsmanship is amazing, even if a bit much for me. $1000 a month?! Back then, that would be even worse than it would be now. What a great place to explore and the sort of abode that makes me happy for where I live. 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  32. Joanne Sisco says:

    oooo – well done! There is just so much to this building – trying to narrow down the focus had to have been a major challenge! So many great doors and fine details – your photo of the door to the Conservatory is gorgeous.

    It was such a pleasure spending the day with you and your wife. I’m already looking forward to the next time!!

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Amazing construction, wonderful doors, especially the yellow one, and a little humor and sarcasm – love it. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Vicky says:

    Thank you for sharing this amazing place with us… wonderful doors, architecture, views on how those with great wealth lived ( I’m thinking wow, just a little pied a terre!) and I just love that massive gargoyle! How nice to do a doorscursion with a fellow blogger… possibly the other visitors may have considered you both to be slightly off your door-heads if they overheard you 🙂 !!

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Ab fab. You even had two curved doors (which I feature in my blog about Kedleston Hall). Truly impressive display of wealth. Love it.

    Liked by 1 person

  36. scooj says:

    Absolutely fascinating, a wonderful window into this building and its history. Lavish is the word that springs to mind. It is also amazing that it hasn’t been turned into a hotel, which seems to be increasingly the case in the UK.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      At one point someone did attempt to convert the place into a hotel but I believe they ran put of money. The current vocation seems to be working well. The place was packed by the time we left in the early afternoon.

      Liked by 1 person

  37. What a wonderful place to visit. Loved the doors to the conservatory.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. weejars says:

    Wow. Some fabulous doors! I especially love the first set of wooden doors and the interior curved one!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Norm 2.0 Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.