While enjoying the beautiful countryside of Ontario, Canada we could not miss a visit to one of the country's largest cities. Toronto is a bustling city of several million. As we passed through its streets near the museums I couldn't help but notice that the city is clean. Very clean by American standards. Pedestrian traffic is very heavy as parking is quite lacking in most parts of the downtown area. This is particularly true of the Chinese district where vendors have moved out onto the sidewalk and the crowds are pushed out into the streets. The scene is one you might see in any major Asian city, however we were not here to shop. We had returned to the city to visit one of its most startling structures and hear the tale of Casa Loma. It is the story of the dream of a hopelessly romantic financier who wanted to live in a medieval castle. We arrived at the Castle and parked in their own parking lot, which charged by the hour. As we approached the front door we were met by two delightfully costumed presenters who had been borrowed from the Renaissance Festival which was being presented on the other side of town. Sir William Cecil, the Secretary of State and his darling wife Lady Frances Radcliff Cecil who were presiding over the Castle setting of 1560 A.D. The Castle was constructed by Henry M. Pellatt between 1911 and 1914 at a cost of 3.5 million dollars using a work force of some 300 men. Pellatt was a stock broker, holding over 100 million dollars in railroad stocks, as well as having a monopoly on electric power from the Niagara Power works. We entered the front door and found ourselves in a great hall filled with tourists and costumed performers. The vaulted ceiling reached 70 feet above us. A harpist played soft tones that just fit the mood for such a building. Jugglers and magicians passed through the crowd speaking with a distinctive British accent. After picking up our tickets and acquiring our audio tour headset, we preceded into the Library. This was one of Mr. Pellatt's favorite rooms and was filled with the finest of period furnishings. He would spend many hours lounging in his favorite chair surrounded by thousands of books on every subject imaginable. The furnishings have been removed and the room is bare to the walls now, as it is used for a banquet room during evening functions.
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