A Horse’s Life

Today I am participating in a special, combined Thursday Doors post with Norm Frampton from Norm 2.0

On our third attempt to meet each other, we finally connected Easter Weekend in Toronto and spent a major chunk of the chilly overcast day touring Casa Loma.  You can read Norm’s post about Casa Loma here.

As pre-agreed, my post will be focusing on the stables and coach house, also known as the Hunting Lodge.

Casa Loma 3
Stables on the left, as seen from the top of Casa Loma with a unicorn mounted on the wall to the right.  Credit to Norm’s lovely wife for pointing out the unicorn, which I had completely missed.

This opulent structure was actually built before the main residence itself.

The stables are located down the road from the main house and when Sir Henry Pellett could not get permission to have the road closed between his house and the stables, he had an 800 foot (244 metre) underground tunnel built to connect the two buildings.

Casa Loma Stables - 8
Coach House / Hunting Lodge

The 2-storey Coach House adjacent to the stables is almost 4,400 square feet.  Pellatt and his wife lived here while the main residence was being built.

Casa Loma Stables-2
The towers and turrets of the stables

Although I had seen the stables once before several years ago, this was my first time to tour the interior.  The stables and coach house are currently used to store antique cars and carriages, but the detail that struck me first when we entered the building was the unmistaken smell of ‘barn’ which still permeates the walls.

Casa Loma Stables 6

… and while the doors are impressive, the eye is constantly drawn downward to the floor.  I wondered how slippery the tiled floors would be for horses, however later learned that the herringbone pattern of the floor was actually intended to prevent slipping.

Casa Loma Stables 7

These horses lived in style, with personalized stalls with their names outlined in gold leaf lettering.

Casa Loma Stables10

Since we had arrived early in the day, we were able to tour both the house and stables with little to no crowds.  By the time we left though, that had changed dramatically.

Casa Loma Stables 5
From inside one of the stalls.  If you’re thinking that looks like Norm in the background through the open door, you would be right.

 

Casa Loma Stables 2
Two sets of doors, both of them grand.

If you visit Casa Loma, the stables are included in the self-guided tour and are accessed from the main residence via the tunnel.

Casa Loma Stables - 9
A final look at the front entrance to the stable.

… and in case you’re wondering … yes, the Casa Loma Stables are listed in the book 150 Unusual Things To See In Ontario.

Click on any photo to enlarge.

106 comments

    • Norm’s wife suggested Casa Loma … I would never have thought of it and now I wonder why!!
      Obviously this was built at a time when fine craftsmanship really mattered. I can’t imagine anything being built today that can rival that level of detail.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Quite grand accommodations for horses, indeed. The architecture is attractive. I especially like the effect of the white stone (sandstone?) contrasting with the red brick. The inclusion of arrow loops in the design is rather anachronistic.

    Jude

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    • It sounds like you know way more about architecture than I do! At first I had no idea what an arrow loop was … and finally decided it referred to what I call ‘castle cutouts’ 🙂 Obviously mine is a highly technical term 🤪
      … but you are right. It is a very anachronistic touch, but one I really like.

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  2. You know someone has serious money when their horses live better than the middle class. And they feel they can say “close that road so I can use it as a driveway” and when they’re told “no”, they shrug and go “okay, then I’ll just build a tunnel”. They’re not really in touch with the real world, are they? Fabulous doors but I loved the floor best. Oh, and the unicorn. I always love a unicorn.

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  3. Wow!!! Those are some fancy stables! I love that herringbone pattern on the floor. Interesting that was intended to keep the floor less slippery.

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  4. In that first photo, when I read your caption that said the Stables are on the left, I had to stop and think about which side was left. The Stables look like a castle in itself! Are those “regular” residential houses between Casa Loma and the Stables? Imagine living in the shadow of that grand castle!

    After reading Norm’s post, and your post, I feel like I’ve had a full tour … except for the tunnel, but I suppose that’s ok 😉

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    • I had the same reaction when I saw the stables for the first time. It was completely unexpected! … and yes, this is a normal residential area. Well, ‘normal’ in that this is a very expensive residential area 😉

      I had taken photos in the tunnel and would have loved to include a few, but I was disappointed that they are all slightly out of focus. The challenges of shooting in low light without a flash 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    • I would have missed it completely if Norm’s wife hadn’t pointed it out. What a wonderful find. I think it’s details like that which would make return visits so interesting. I can’t imagine what I missed that is still waiting to be discovered 🙂

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  5. Man-oh-man what a place in which to live. Gorgeous architecture + those wooden doors. It’s fun to think about living on a grand scale, but I know that the only way I’d live like that is if I was parlour maid. Still…

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  6. As I mentiioned to Norm 2.0, I’ve you guys to thank for inspiring me. Been trying to meet up with a fellow quilting blogger from Missouri but failed the last few attempts. Going to make it so this spring! Love the beautiful stable! Bet it was world reknowned in its day!

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    • I’m so happy to hear you’re going to try again!! I think you will discover that all the reasons why you like reading this blogger will be apparent in person.
      The first time I worried that conversation would be awkward and we would struggle to find things to say to one another. The opposite was true and our time together flew by. I hope you have the same wonderful experience!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I’ve been to Casa Loma once, many years ago…and I hardly remember any of it, except for the gardens. I certainly don’t remember the stables or the underground tunnel. I’ll have to make a return visit someday. Thanks Joanne!

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  8. You and Norm make a great team, Joanne! These are the most opulent stables I’ve seen.
    Had to smile about that the city did not give in to mr. Pellets’ narcissistic wishes for the road to close off, because of what HE wanted.

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    • It’s certainly nice to know that money can’t buy everything … although sometimes I worry that today’s politicians don’t have the same moral compass that their predecessors did.

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  9. The coach house and hunting lodge is a magnificent building. I absolutely love the brick exterior. You have such beautiful places to visit in and around Toronto…and never-ending doors!

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  10. Amazing photos of an unbelievable structure. I have been to a couple of the Anheuser Busch stables where they house the Clydesdales, and I thought they were the best I had ever seen. They are cleaner than most houses with beautiful wooden stall doors. But, this ‘stable’ has them beat by a mile. The doors are stunning, and I’ve never seen a floor like that let alone supposedly in a barn. Opulent is definitely the correct adjective to describe it. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

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    • I was absolutely fascinated by that floor. I don’t know anything about horses, but I can’t help but wonder if standing on that hard floor all the time would be hard on a horse’s legs and hooves.
      The extravagances of the super rich makes me rather uncomfortable considering how little so many people have. The imbalance feels so wrong.

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  11. How neat to spend the day with Norm finally! I’m glad it all aligned so you could, and what a place to meet-up!

    The tiles and wood are stunning. The doors are lovely especially the first one entering the stable/car area.

    I’m pretty sure I would be able to live my life quite happily in the house/stable for ever. 🙂 I wonder after they lost it all they regretted not just living a more modest life there in the stables/house and not saving for that inevitable rainy day?

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    • Pellat died penniless and I often wonder the same thing, Deborah. There were simply so many outrageous extravagances built into this home. Did he just assume the money would roll in forever?
      I suppose it’s not much different from what’s happening today with so many people living well above their means.

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  12. That is SOME stable! Wowza! You’re right about the floors. I was thinking it just before I read what you said. The tiles are beautifully laid and so impressive. Great tour!

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    • The sad part is that the horses wouldn’t know it or appreciate it, while at the same time there would have been a lot of people living a subsistent living 😕
      I have such an issue with excessive wealth. Seriously! When is it enough?

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      • Of course that’s true, Joanne. I think it somewhat depends on what you’re doing to earn that wealth and what you do with the wealth you earn. If you make enough to have a house like that, I think it would be better spent with a smaller house (which might still be enormous) and funding various charities, etc. There are many large homes where we live (we’re not in one) and I always wonder why anyone needs a house that’s so big. Not only do you have taxes, heating and cooling, and so forth, you have to have furniture for all those rooms, another enormous expense.

        I can see we could go on with this for some time, but it really does make you wonder, doesn’t it?

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  13. Wow. What a cool place and so pretty for a stable. The doors are beautiful and that floor is stunning. How cool that you were able to meet Norm there and tour both buildings. Looks like it was a fun day, Joanne. Thanks for the great images. 🙂

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  14. Looks like you caught yourself a unicorn, and that augurs good luck. Sir Pellet sure was lucky. It must be nice to be so rich you can build a tunnel to connect your house to your horse stables.

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    • It did feel very lucky to catch a unicorn. That was my first 🙂
      … but it wasn’t very lucky for Pellat. He died penniless. Excessive extravagance never sits well with me, and it certainly caught up with him.

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  15. Oh, my! I wouldn’t mind being a horse in these stables! And yes, indeed, I was thinking that that man looked like Norm and I knew he wasn’t wearing a purple top… It makes me happy that it worked this time and we get a joint doorscursion or several. Yeah!

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    • ha! I laughed when I discovered that Norm’s wife and I had dressed the same 🙂 They are a delightful pair and you will really enjoy your visit with them!

      Casa Loma and its stables were such an outrageous extravagance. I almost feel sorry for Pellat that he eventually lost everything, but I’m happy that the buildings have survived all these years and it well maintained now as a tourist site and event venue.

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  16. Although I have driven by Casa Loma and seen it in the distance we have never explored it. How fun to do a collaboration with Norm and to catch him in a photo. The herringbone pattern floor must have taken so long to install. It’s like an art form and fascinating to hear that makes the floor non slip.

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    • I don’t know why it’s never occurred to me to visit Casa Loma before this. This was only my 2nd time and yet it is so interesting with so much detail to explore. It was particularly fun to tour it with Norm and his wife. We each had our own observations much made it so interesting.

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  17. Hi, Joanne – It’s so cool that you and Norm finally had a chance to meet. I love how you decided in advance who would write about what. I am off to visit Norm’s post now.
    PS – This post is another reason I need to buy the ‘150 Unusual Things Book’!

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    • This was the 2nd post that Norm and I have collaborated on together. Although we agree at a high level what our focus will be, neither of us know what the other will be writing. It’s so interesting to read their version of the planned post!

      I’ve had a couple of books over the years about things to see and do in Canada, and this particular book is the best one so far. Out of curiosity, I did a research for something similar in BC. Although I didn’t find a book, I did find a number of websites. This one looked particularly interesting …
      https://www.atlasobscura.com/things-to-do/british-columbia

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  18. Horsefeathers! That’s a stable? I should come back as a horse. What a beautiful place, Joanne. This post is such a treat. The herringbone floors were cool. And fun that it now houses antique cars. That seems fitting. Thanks for the tour. Hugs!

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    • Casa Loma would be a great venue at any time, but on this occasion, it was particularly wonderful to spend the day here with Norm and his wife.
      They are truly lovely people and a pleasure to be with. We all have a different “eye” and it was interesting the details they would notice that I had not!!

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  19. I have been to a wedding at Casa Loma a number of years ago but have not done an actual tour. I had no idea there were stables down the road complete with one very fancy coach house! Nicely done!

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    • I imagine Casa Loma makes out fairy tale venue for a wedding!
      In some ways, I consider the stables a bigger eye opener than the residence itself. It’s just so over-the-top ostentatious.

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  20. Wow, Joanne, wow! I was impressed with the building, then the doors, then the floors….I have a herringbone pattern on my backyard patio. I was told Thomas Jefferson used that pattern for his home in Monticello. I figure if it was good enough for Tom, it’s good enough for me! Absolutely beautiful photos.

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  21. I love the stable doors. I wonder if horses have the attitudes that Norm mentioned about the owners. You know, do they talk smack when around horse of lesser means?

    I’m glad you guys met, and I’m very glad you started early on a chilly day. The unobstructed photos are a treat. I ever get back up your way, this is a place I need to see.

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  22. These turned out great! I love that we both ended up using the unicorn 😀
    I still have so many great shots of other details both of the main house and the stables that I may just use some in a few non-doors posts.
    You also raised a good point about getting there early to get the least obstructed views. When I think back to how crowded the place was when we were leaving in the afternoon; wow, we’d have never gotten the quality of shots that we did.
    Thanks again for being such a great hostess. It was so much fun. I sure hope this wasn’t our last doorscursion together 🙂

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    • Thanks Norm. As I was going through all my photos, I had the same thought that there is just so much material to work with!! There are definitely multiple blog posts in all those photos!
      Given what a chilly day it was, having an inside tour like this was perfect!
      I too loved that you included the unicorn. Great minds think alike 🙂

      I’m really looking forward to June and version 2 of “Toronto Meets Montreal”. Maybe the snow will be gone by then 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  23. It is a magnificent building and what a floor! But I can’t help thinking about the opulent life these horses must have had compared to many people in the 1900s.
    Nice unicorn 😀

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  24. It has been years since I visited Casa Loma. I’d forgotten how stunning it is architecturally, and what a magnificent example of someone bringing their dream to fruition in every detail. Thanks for the reminder, Joanne, and for the beautiful photographs. It’s actually much easier to see the site through your photos than it is when standing right there, I guess because you’ve chosen angles and details that I might miss. (Like the unicorn, which I would have missed too.)

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    • This is one of those examples of something in your own backyard that gets overlooked. I’ve lived in Toronto for over 35 years, and yet I’ve toured Casa Loma only once, many years ago. Quite frankly, on this trip, it was like visiting for the first time. I had remembered very little.

      There is just so much detail to absorb, I’m sure it could be visited repeatedly with new things discovered each time. My favourite detail on this trip was the unicorn and the amazing herringbone patterned floor in the stable!

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