The famous castle that the neighbourhood takes its name of Casa Loma from, was built in the early 1900's. Boasting 98 rooms, it was the largest private residence in the country and had an oven big enough to cook an ox, an elevator, a vertical passage for pipe organs and two secret passageways. The castle cost financier and industrialist, Sir William Henry Mill Pellatt over three million dollars to complete; almost unheard of for a private home and barely a decade after its construction, he turned it over to the City of Toronto because he could not afford it anymore. Soon after, the lands in the vicinity of the castle were subdivided and what we now know as the neighbourhood of Casa Loma began its growth. Many of the streets get their names from early and prominent Torontonians: Willcocks, Baldwin, Scadding and Russell among other and they built homes in the area that display fine architecture.
In the early days of York the area was a countryside vacation spot of sorts but it soon became a neighbourhood with wonderful examples of Tudor, Georgian, Edwardian and English Cottage style homes; these were mostly constructed between 1905 and 1940. The homes that are on the south side of Lyndhurst Court are fortunate enough to have a scenic view of Toronto's skyline and the lake. Several homes back on to Nordheimer ravine, which has a healthy and mature population of oaks and maples. Scattered through the neighbourhood are some duplexes and triplexes as well as condos, co-op apartments and some luxury townhouses.
The main feature and attraction is obviously Casa Lomaitself and like its Spanish name suggests, it is a formidable 'house on the hill'. The surrounding area is supremely scenic and walkable even if on the hilly side. Sir Winston Churchill Park sits at the corner of Spadina Road and St. Clair Avenue and the park has ten floodlit tennis courts, a playground and a running path that circumnavigates the park area. Wrapped around the park itself is Nordheimer Ravine, a green and rustic patch of woods that has many picnic areas upon which to relax while taking in the large variety of floor and fauna. Hillcrest School holds the local community centre which also includes an indoor pool and gymnasium.
The Casa Loma neighbourhood is served by a wide variety of schools both public and private, and at all levels. Hillcrest Community, Cottingham Junior and Huron Street schools are all public elementary schools. There are three private schools in the area: De La Salle, Arrowsmith and Blyth Academy and the George Brown College has a campus that is conveniently situated in the south with Taddle Creek Montessori School just a little further south. It is a strange feature to see in the heart of Toronto: a romantic castle jutting out of the landscape but cresting the ridge of the Avenue Road Hill, ringed by ravines and lush parkland, the Casa Loma neighbourhood has a storybook feel in the middle of the hustle of the city proper.