Casa Loma, Toronto

Our Casa Loma tour in Toronto was nothing short of an experience. The one that brimmed with stories of joy, sorrow, and tragedy.

Casa Loma is a Gothic Revival style mansion, now a historic house museum. It was Sir Henry Mill Pellatt’s early 20th century chateau, the biggest private residence ever constructed in Canada, sitting at an elevation of 460 ft above sea level.

Pellatt brought hydro-electricity to Ontario, and through which he made his fortune. His was the first company that harnessed the generating power of Niagara Falls; the electricity that powered the province. He became Commanding Officer of The Queen’s Own Rifles, and his leadership of this regiment earned him a knighthood.

But legislators launched a campaign proclaiming hydro power should be as free as air, and they took his electric company from him through a legislative process.

His empire was rapidly disintegrating with heavy debts to the bank, and his money tied up in real estate developments stalled due to the Great Depression. He was unceremoniously forced out of his 98-room palace with just three van loads of belongings. Later, he auctioned off his luxury items to cover his debts.

Lady Mary Pellatt died of a heart attack in April 1924. The City of Toronto seized Casa Loma for backed taxes. Pellatt died in 1939.

Sir Henry and Mary Pellatt in 1910. Courtesy: Spacing Magazine.
As we approached the entrance gate…
The flags and the lights in the entrance lobby

The dining rooms

The baths of the castle times. These are two of the thirty.

Inside Casa Loma, there’s a tunnel, 800 feet long, which was once a secret passage between the castle and horse stables.
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Legend has it that the tunnel is haunted. People have seen a lady in white, heard spooky voices.
Potting shed – Pellatt was fond of flowers.

Oak Rooms – the French oak panels

The 10,000-book library
Stained glass ceiling in the Conservatory
Pellatt’s study contained a replica of Napoleon’s desk
Some of the movies shot in the castle

The suite-style bedrooms

The quiet sitting rooms

Blueberry-carved ceiling
Pellatt’s son – the one on the wall
The way to the Scottish Tower
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This spiral staircase will lead you to the highest point in the tower. The staircase is narrow, may become congested, is the only way up and down.
The highest point in the tower.
View from the tower (CN Tower is seen)

The Getty Center, Los Angeles

When we were in Los Angeles, we didn’t miss the opportunity to visit the Getty Center.

The J.Paul Getty Museum turned out to be one of the best museums we ever visited: the sculptures, decorative arts, drawings, pre-20th century European paintings, to name a few.

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Museum entrance
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The cable-pulled tram took us from the parking garage at the bottom of the hill to the museum at the top of the hill.  The museum has a 7-story deep underground parking garage.
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One of the outdoor sculptures

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Inner courtyard
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Los Angeles, seen from the top of the Getty Center. 405 San Diego Freeway lines the middle.
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Bust of an African woman (in marble) by Henry Weekes
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Bust of Christ (in bronze) by Constantin Meunier
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Head of Saint John the Baptist (in bronze) by Jean-Baptiste Chatigny
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Self-Portrait as Midas (in patinated plaster) by Jean-Joseph Carries. Midas, the mythological king of Phrygia, was known for his foolishness. Apollo, punishing Midas for having favored the satyr Marsyas over himself in a musical contest, gave the king the ears of an ass.

 

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Mischief and Repose (oil on canvas) by John Godward
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The Ransom (oil on canvas) by John Millais. Millais’ praise of medieval chivalry is at the same time a lament for its absence in contemporary life

 

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A Young Girl Defending Herself against Eros (oil on canvas) by William Bouguereau. A young girl playfully struggles with Eros (Cupid) to avoid love’s arrow.
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The Fright of Astyanax (by pen and brown ink) by Benjamin West. As the Trojan hero Hector bids farewell to his family, his son Astyanax is frightened by his father’s helmet and runs to the nurse.
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The Holy Family (oil on canvas) by Joseph Paelinck. Here the Virgin Mary and her mother, Anne, hold the Christ child, while Mary’s husband, Joseph, and her father Joachim, quietly observe.
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Herm of a Vestal Virgin (in marble) by Antonio Canova
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Apollo Crowning Himself (in marble) by Antonio Canova. Apollo’s idealized body and balanced pose recall ancient representations of nude male figures
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Juno (in marble) by Joseph Nollekens
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Venus (in marble) by Joseph Nollekens

 

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The Elements Paying Tribute to Friendship (in marble) by Louis-Simon Boizot. The four elements (Earth, Water, Fire and Air) in the guise of ancient gods pay homage to Friendship who’s standing on the pedestal. (Love this one!)
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Dancer (in bronze) by Paolo Troubetzkoy. Countess Tamara performed throughout Europe and the United States.

More sculptures:

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This visit made me smile (Photo Challenge). While it was breezy, it wasn’t frigid (Daily Prompt).