Is Casa Loma under siege?
Should the city kick Kiwanis to the castle’s curb?
A recent city hall report leveled serious allegations about mismanagement among Casa Loma’s top brass. That got us thinking about a regal refresh: How can Toronto get more out of its most majestic manor?
AVOID EVENTS, OPT FOR ART
It is a magical building, filled with stories and potential — some make-believe and some true. Casa Loma should be properly restored — possibly for art exhibits along the lines of the Getty Villa in Malibu. It is not well used as a community facility because its origin is at odds with the community. As an event venue, it will only cheapen its wonderful grandeur. The project was a losing proposition from the time it was initially developed — it is a uniquely large statement of individual wealth and financial gain (followed by collapse). Maybe a museum celebrating the rise and fall of great wealth.
Geoff Cape, director, Brick Works
BRING HOLOGRAMS TO HALLS
There’s lots of compelling communication technology — from interactive visuals that change when you move through them, to holograms — that could be incorporated into Casa Loma to enrich the visitor’s experience. This kind of technology would also make a visit more appealing to a younger generation. Holograms, for instance, could re-create the life that was lived in many of the rooms, not to mention all the fascinating and important historical characters connected to the Casa Loma.
Kelvin Browne, major exhibitions, ROM
MUSEUM DEVOTED TO T.O.
Although we have much to be proud of, Toronto is one of the few cities on the planet that does not have a museum about itself. Casa Loma is loved by Torontonians, and it would be a wonderful place to share our city’s history with ourselves and others. Casa Loma is one of Toronto’s great architectural treasures. Too bad it’s suffering a personality disorder. Is it a museum, an event venue or Sir Henry Pellatt’s quirky interpretation of a Gothic revival castle? Whatever it is, it can and should be restored and maintained to a standard commensurate with the place it occupies in our city’s history.
Paul Oberman, Woodcliffe, restorers of Summerhill Station
CASINO, CUISINE, CONTEMPORARY MUSIC
I would create two restaurant spaces, one fine dining and one brasserie, as well as a small boutique hotel/B & B component. A small, super-high-end, Monte Carlo-style casino room — which would be for high rollers only and would include a formal dress code — could help pay for the location’s upkeep. The location should still accommodate weddings and special events, and in the summer, the gardens would be programmed with adult contemporary music concerts and film screenings.
Matthew Rosenblatt, co-owner, Distillery District