Donated Watercolours offer Charming Solution to the Mystery of Casa Loma’s White Stone
A series of watercolour paintings by award-winning artist, Les Tait, have been recently installed as a permanent exhibition. These original watercolours were first see in The white stone in the castle wall, written by Sheldon Oberman and published by Tundra Books in 1995. This critically acclaimed children’s book offers a magical solution to the mystery of the sole white stone in the great wall surrounding Casa Loma.
Casa Loma or the “house on the hill” was originally built between 1911 and 1914 by Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military officer. The building of this magical castle took 300 workers and immense resources. The wall itself required 250,000 stones, which Sir Henry purchased for a dollar each – a phenomenal sum for those times, as this was the wage of a skilled worker for an eleven hour day! All of the stones are dull in colour except for one bright, white one just to the right of the lower gate on Davenport Road. The half-mile of wall was built according to strict specifications under Sir Henry’s personal supervision, so how did the white stone get into the wall? Les Tait’s watercolours creatively present one possible answer.
Les Tait is a well-known figure on the Toronto art scene, whose work has won him both and national acclaim. Tait’s carefully crafted portrayal of the nuances of city life has earned him the reputation as one of this country’s leading urban artists. This care is evidenced in the paintings for The white stone in the castle wall that now hang in Casa Loma. The paintings have been generously donated to Casa Loma by Gordon and Jennifer Cooper of Cardinal Couriers Ltd. And by Murray and Judy Smith of the Westmount Gallery. Visitors can take a step back in time as they view Tait’s re-creation of Toronto eighty years ago. In fact the same route taken by the book’s hero, John Tommy Fiddich, can be followed today because many of the buildings are still intact.
Casa Loma officially opened as a tourist attraction in 1937 after being restored by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma. Annual net proceeds from the Castle are used by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma for a wide range of charitable and community projects.
Lou Seiler, Director of Marketing
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