A businessman ahead of his time
As a partner in Pellatt and Pellatt, Sir Henry was a business visionary. In the same year that Thomas Edison developed steam-generated electricity, Sir Henry realized that supplying electricity could be extremely profitable. He founded the Toronto Electric Light Company in 1883. By the time he was thirty, the Toronto Electric Light Company enjoyed a monopoly on the supply of street lighting to the city.
In 1892 his father retired, enabling Sir Henry to invest with more risk. Despite vigorous discouragement from his friends he purchased stock in the Canadian Pacific Railroad and in the North West Land Company. As with steam-generated electricity, his intuition was right on target. A liberal immigration policy led to opening of the Canadian west which led to healthy profits from his investments in both the Canadian Pacific Railroad and in the North West Land Company.
By 1901, Sir Henry was chairman of 21 companies with interests in mining, insurance, land and electricity. In 1902, he and his partners won the rights to build the first Canadian hydro-generating plant at Niagara Falls. He was knighted in 1905 for his military service with the Queen's Own Rifles.
Pellatt's Midas touch continued through most of his business life. In 1911, armed with a fortune of $17 million, Pellatt drew up plans to build his dream castle with Canadian architect E. J. Lennox. The land on which he planned to build had been given a name by its previous owner: "house on the hill" or Casa Loma.