|Thank you for booking your school visit to
Casa Loma. The Teacher’s Guide has been specifically designed for younger children,
ages 10 and under. The regular self-guided audio cassettes are recommended for students 11
years and older. It is our hope that this resource will be both educational and fun and
will assist your while touring the castle.
guide as you lead your students through the castle. The guide includes maps of the
building for you to follow, brief historical points of interest for each room, suggested
activities and questions for you to ask the children.
The maps, located at the back of the guide, are
alphabetized to specifically coincide with this guide. However, you will notice that the
rooms in the building are marked numerically; this is for the regular audio tour users and
does not apply to the teacher’s guide you are using.
More detailed information on the history of Casa Loma and
the man who built it, Sir Henry Pellatt, can be found in the pamphlet included in this
Enjoy your tour of Toronto’s
ATTENTION: Please ensure that
copies of this teachers guide are duplicated for your supervisors prior to your visit to
General Suggested Activity: As you explore Casa Loma, have
the children find the fireplaces in the building. You might want to explain that, though
Casa Loma had radiators, there were 25 fireplaces throughout the building to help keep the
Pellatts and their guests warm in the winter months. Each room containing a fireplace is
marked with * to assist you in identifying their location. (Answer: On the tour, children
will be able to identify 19 fireplaces in total).
Your tour starts in the Great Hall;
A: GREAT HALL *
- With its 60’ high oak beamed ceiling, this room is a
focal point of the castle.
- Activity: Have the children count the following: Gargoyles
(look on the pillars)=(Answer: 8); Flags (look up!)=(Answer: 6); Miniature Suits of Armour
(check the fireplace!)=(Answer: 2)
- Activity: Identify the different flags (Answer: starting
from the Canadian flag and going toward the organ pipes: 1. Canadian Flag 2. First
Canadian Flag (Other than Union Jack) 3. Ontario Flag
- Starting from the blue flag and going towards the yellow
flag: 1. Toronto Flag 2. Union Jack 3. Flag of Scotland
- Activity: Identify the portraits of Sir Henry and Lady Mary
Pellatt (found to the right of the Wurlitzer Organ). Ask the children if they can identify
the woman in the portrait to the right of the fireplace (Queen Elizabeth II) and the man
in the portrait to the left of the fireplace (Sir Henry again).
Exit the Great Hall through the door to the right of the
- The Pellatt coat of arms can be found in the plaster
ceiling: "Devant si je puis" means "Foremost if I can"
- The oak floor in the Library is done in a herringbone style
so that when you look across it, you see stripes in the floor and when you look straight
down at it, the wood is all one colour.
- Activity: Have the children do their own experiment by
having them look at the floor from both perspectives.
- Activity: Ask the children to guess how many books the
shelves in the Library would hold (Answer: 10,000 volumes).
Continue to the end of the Library, just past the brown
B (i): DINING ROOM
- The Dining Room used to be separated from the Library by a
wall which stood where you now see the three pillars. The wall was torn down in 1928 when
Casa Loma became a luxury hotel (this venture lasted until 1929, only).
B (ii): DINING NOOK *
- This was the more intimate dining area for the Pellatt
- Activity: Ask the children how many people could have sat
for a meal here (count the chairs).
- Activity: What is the time on the clock?
Continue to Conservatory through the Bronze Doors off the
- This room was originally called the Palm Room. Steam pipes
buried in the flower beds ensure that the temperature of the soil is correct for exotic
plants year-round. The Pellatts loved their gardens and entertaining their guests in the
- Activity: Have the children look up at the stained glass
dome. What kind of fruit do they see there? (Answer: Grapes). The dome was lit by 600
bulbs so that it could be appreciated at all times.
- Activity: What is the floor made of? (Answer: marble).
- Activity: Ask the children to identify any flowers or plants
they may recognize.
Exit the Conservatory through the second set of doors,
those on the right, and proceed down Peacock Alley to the first room on the right, the
D: SERVING ROOM
- This room was also used as a breakfast room. The furniture
you see is original.
- Activity: Have the children point out the following:
grandfather clock, silver tea set, turkey, telephone.
- Casa Loma had 59 telephones, which meant that the
castle’s switchboard operator handled more calls than did the entire City of Toronto!
- Activity: Another thing to keep an eye out for as you tour
are the telephones and telephone stands throughout the building.
At this point you may want to mention that the original
kitchens are located behind the Serving Room. The original oven was large enough to roast
an ox. The kitchen is not on tour as it is used for the private evening functions held at
As you walk along Peacock Alley, you might want to point
out the Otis I elevator, the first electric elevator of its kind in North America. Located
just past the Serving Room, on the right.
Continue along Peacock Alley to the Study, located on the
E: STUDY *
- It is this room that Sir Henry conducted his business
- Point out the typewriter on the desk. You might want to
explain that this was what was used back then whereas today we use computers.
- Sir Henry had two secret passageways built in his study, the
one to the right of the fireplace leads to the Wine Cellar. (You will visit the wine
cellar a little later on the tour). The second passageway you see to the left leads to the
Take the passage to the left of the fireplace up to the
Second Floor. As you exit the secret passageway turn to the right and enter Sir
Henry’s Suite, the first door on the left.
F: SIR HENRY’S BEDROOM *
- The walls in this room are mahogany and walnut. A secret
storage area to the left of the fireplace was used to store confidential documents.
- The phoenix-shaped lamp next to Sir Henry’s bed is one
of his original belongings.
- Activity: Open the secret panel yourself and have the
children look inside. If they had a secret panel like this in their bedroom, what would
they keep in it?
- Activity: Look over the balcony. Do the children recognize
the room they see from there? (Great Hall). Now they can get a good look at the flags that
they identified earlier as well as the pipes for the organ and the oak beamed ceiling of
F (i): SIR HENRY’S BATHROOM
- Casa Loma had 30 bathrooms at the time that it was built.
All of the fixtures were plated in gold, as was the interesting shower. The shower was
built to surround the body with spray, manipulated by using 6 taps, controlling 3 levels
of pipes. All the walls are outfitted with Carrera marble.
- Move into Sir Henry’s Wardrobe. Note, the St.
John’s Ambulance Display on the right. Sir Henry organized the first St. John’s
Ambulance Brigade in Canada.
- Activity: Have the children discuss what this organization
does? Has anyone taken St. John’s Ambulance training?
Continue out of the wardrobe area and turn right into Lady
G: LADY MARY’S SUITE ***
- The suite was redecorated by Ritins Studios, Inc., in 1994.
They painted the walls using techniques such as marbling, gilding and antiquing. In 1995,
the same company refinished the furniture in the suite. Wedgewood Blue was Lady
Mary’s favourite colour.
- Lady Mary was a semi-invalid, who had to use a wheelchair.
This is the reason for the elevator and the size of her suite (she spent most of her time
- You will come across a Girl Guide Display in the Suite. This
display was placed in the castle as a tribute to support Lady Pellatt provided to the
Guides. Lady Mary was the First Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada. She was
presented with the Girl Guides’ highest award, the Silver Fish. It is on display
– can you find it?
- Activity: Ask the children if they are involved in an
organization like Girl Guides or Boy Scouts. What colour does their group wear? What
badges do they have?
Cross the hallway to the Guest Suite.
H: GUEST SUITE **
- Guests of the Pellatts would stay in these quarters.
Exit the Guest Suite, turn right, and take the stairs to
the Third Floor.
The Third Floor was never completed during Sir Henry’s
time, and was used mainly for storage purposes.
I: THE QUEEN’S OWN RIFLES MUSEUM ****
- Sir Henry was a dedicated supporter of the Queen’s Own
Rifles, achieving the rank of Major-General. The regiment’s band was often engaged to
entertain guests at the castle. In 1910, Sir Henry took the entire 600 man regiment to
England for military games at his own expense.
- There are several rooms, each dedicated to a different time
- Formation: 1860-1900
- World War I: 1914-1918
- World War II: 1939-1945
- Pellatt Room: dedicated to Sir Henry’s work within the
Continue along the Third Floor Corridor to the entrance to
the Towers, located on the left. Climb up, if you like. Please note, the spiralling stairs
to the towers are steep. Children and their charges should proceed with care. For the
safety of all, please ensure the children walk, NOT run in this area.
- From May through October, both towers are open. The Norman
Tower is open May through October only, as it is open-aired. The Scottish Tower is open
year-round, as it has an enclosed roof.
- Each tower was named for it’s unique architectural
Return to the Third Floor Corridor, turn left and continue
along the corridor to the Austin Room and Pellatt Boardroom, located on the right.
K: AUSTIN ROOM
- The third floor was used primarily for storage by Sir Henry.
- Today, this large room may be rented for daytime functions,
corporate meetings, seminars or social functions.
L: PELLATT BOARDROOM *
- This room, featuring an oak antique table and chairs, may
also be rented for smaller functions.
Cross the hallway and follow the corridor to the Kiwanis
Room, located on the right.
M: KIWANIS ROOM *
- The Kiwanis Club of West Toronto took on the huge task of
restoring Casa Loma and opening it as a tourist attraction in 1937. They are now known as
the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma and they continue to maintain and upgrade the castle and its
grounds. The property is actually owned by the City of Toronto but has been operated by
the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma since 1937. The Club uses its share of the proceeds for a
wide variety of charitable projects.
Upon exiting the room, turn right and continue down the
hall to the Garden Room, located on the left.
N: GARDEN ROOM
- The Casa Loma Gardens were renovated between 1986 and 1990
by The Garden Club of Toronto. Over $1.5 million was invested in renovating the gardens to
their present breathtaking beauty. The photographs on display in the room depict the
renovation in progress.
- The gardens are open from May through October. Depending
upon the season, perhaps the children would enjoy exploring the gardens, after their tour.
O: WURLITZER ORGAN PIPES
- These original pipes are connected to the Wurlitzer organ in
the Great Hall and when someone plays the organ you can actually see the pipes move! (More
pipes can be seen on the Second Floor.)
- For further information on the organ itself please read the
sign located on the door.
Take the Third Floor Corridor to the Main Staircase,
located on your left. Take the first, short staircase to the Servant’s Room.
P: SERVANT’S ROOM
- After a failed attempt to convert and operate Casa Loma as a
hotel, it was left to fall to ruin. The weather took its toll as well as vandals who broke
into the building and stripped it of anything of value (gold plating, woodwork, etc). Many
of the rooms were destroyed. If you look up the staircase in this room, you will see a
mirror that reflects the upper level. Note, the graffiti. This room serves as an example
of the disrepair that the castle fell into prior to the Kiwanis Club’s restoration in
Continue down the Main Staircase to the Second Floor. Turn
right to reach the Windsor Room, located at the end of the hall, on the right.
Q: WINDSOR ROOM *
- This room holds some of the original Casa Loma furnishings,
note the Settee and chairs.
- Sir Henry intended this room to be used by visiting Royalty
(thus the name "Windsor Room"). Unfortunately, this room never hosted anyone of
- This room was redecorated by Ritins Studios, Inc. in 1995
- Activity: What royal family has the last name of
"Windsor" (Queen Elizabeth II)
Cross the hallway and proceed down the corridor to the
Round Room, located on the right.
R: ROUND ROOM *
- This room is really round!! It is unique because it
doesn’t just have round walls, but doors and windows too! Everything was custom made
to fit the curvature of the Norman Tower.
- The four elbow chairs and the three-fold screen are original
pieces of furniture.
Return to the Second Floor corridor, and take the main
stairs down to the Great Hall. Turn right, and enter the Smoking Room, located on the
S: SMOKING ROOM *
- Quiet games of chess or cards were played here.
- The fireplace is easy to spot here! Have the children try to
identify the two animals on the mantelpiece (Answer: Stag, Pheasant). There are also two
gargoyles on this mantle.
T: BILLIARD ROOM
- This is where Sir Henry came to relax with friends. They
played a game called Billiards.
- Activity: Explain how the game is played. Perhaps the
children can discuss the types of games they play today with their friends.
Cross the hallway to the Oak Room.
U: OAK ROOM *
Note: the molded plaster ceiling and elaborate wood carvings. The walls are made of solid
French oak panels which took three years to carve. Casa Loma also had a central vacuuming
system; the vents can be seen along the floorboards.
- Sir Henry built the first hydro electric generating station
in Niagara Falls, which was instrumental in bringing electricity to Toronto. Note, the
ceiling in this room; it featured indirect lighting.
Take the stairs from the Great Hall to the Lower Level.
Turn left at the bottom of the stairs, and go to the Wine Cellar, located on the left.
V: WINE CELLAR
-The Pellatt wine cellar was the largest in North America
at the time. Ammonia and brine-filled pipes kept the collection of nearly 1,800 bottles of
wine and champagne chilled.
Return to the corridor, turn left and proceed to the end of
the hall to the Swimming Pool.
V (I) SWIMMING POOL
- The Swimming Pool was never completed but the plans called
for the pool to be surrounded by cloisters, marble arches and gold swans around the edge.
Take the hallway back the way you came, to the other end of
the hall and take the tunnel to the Stables.
W: THE TUNNEL
- Have the children line up in twos and walk together though
- You are now in a tunnel which is 800 feet long and lies 18
feet under the ground. Sir Henry did not originally intend to build this tunnel, but was
forced to make this underground connection when the City refused to re-route Spadina
Avenue for him.
- As you travel through the tunnel, you will pass the furnaces
on your left. These huge furnaces provided the heat for the castle and took 800 tons of
coal a year to do so!
Proceed through the tunnel until you come to a staircase,
located to your left. Take the staircase up and turn left, following sign to Potting Shed.
X: POTTING SHED
- The Potting Shed was built between 1906-1909, before Casa
Loma was built.
- There were five greenhouses which ran east from this room
but were torn down in the 1930’s.
- This large room was the central working area for the
greenhouse gardens. The gardeners transplanted and potted a variety of plant materials for
the gardens and prepared floral displays for use in Casa Loma.
- Activity: Have the children describe what the gardeners at
Casa Loma might have done. (Answer: the very name of the room provides a hint – as
they would pot plants; they also planted seeds; grew flowers and maintained the gardens).
- Activity: Have the children identify where the original
doors were that lead to the greenhouses? (Answer: As you enter the room, the east wall on
the left, contains 5 wooden door coverings)
- Activity: Have the children look at the walls (eye level) to
see if they can find the original stenciling (Answer: Look for purple vine-like leaves)
Exit through the door you entered and follow the sign at
the top of the staircase to the Garage.
- Sir Henry had the first electric car in Toronto.
- Note, the old gas pump in the photographs of early
- Activity: Ask the children to identify how cars have changed
over the years.
To continue to the Stables, go back down the stairs to the
tunnel, turn left and continue to another staircase that leads to the Stables.
Z: CARRIAGE ROOM
- Straight ahead you will see a display of carriages.
- Activity: Ask the children to identify the different types
of vehicles (Answer: car, sleigh).
Continue into the stables, located to the left of the
Z (I): STABLES
- The first thing you will notice is the Spanish tiling on the
floor. This pattern kept the horses from slipping.
- Sir Henry’s favourite horse was Prince.
- Activity: How many horses did Sir Henry have? (Answer: 6)
- Activity: What were the horse’s names? (Answer: written
in gold above the stalls)
Retrace your steps to the main building through the tunnel.
The Gardens are open May through October, if weather
permits, the children may wish to explore the gardens. Due to the delicate nature of the
plant material, please ensure the children remain on the paths.
Renovated by the Garden Club of Toronto, the six acres
surrounding the castle feature formal perennial borders, unusual sculpture and sparkling
fountains. The wooded hillside showcases wild flowers and ferns plus dramatic
rhododendrons and decorative grasses.
-Activity: Have the children identify flowers that they are
familiar with. For example, roses, lilies.
Then have the children look at the plant labels and
identify two flowers or plants that they may not be too familiar with. Back at school, the
children can go to the library and research the two flowers they identified.
-Activity: Included in the Teacher’s Guide is a
picture of Casa Loma and the Gardens. Please feel free to photocopy the picture for the
children to colour, once back at school.
We trust you enjoyed the tour of Casa Loma, one of
Toronto’s premier historic landmarks. We look forward to hosting you and your
students again in the near future. If you require further information, or if we can assist
you in any way, please do not hesitate to contact our Group Department at (416) 923-1171.