Just another day at the castle.

A few years ago, I was at my cousin’s place when my other cousin Aimee noticed a hanging photograph, taken in Europe. She then cried out “THAT’S MY FAVOURITE CASTLE!!!”

“Excuse me?” I said. “Your FAVOURITE castle? Who are you, and how many damn castles have you been to?”

And when I revealed that I’d never even been to a castle, she looked at me like I was a crazy person who had just said the phrase “favourite castle.”

She then reminded me that we have a castle in our very own city: Casa Loma.

Today, I’m pleased to say that I finally got around to visiting the place.

Okay, soooo let’s be real. Casa Loma is no European castle. It’s like the young, awkward cousin of a really cool, sexy castle. But it’s still a castle, and if it’s in my city I better damn well see it.

During our visit, we learned all about the man who had lived there, Sir Henry Pellatt. The more we heard about Henry, the more evident it became that he was a serious egomaniac. I mean, the guy went and campaigned for his own knighthood. Sooo awkwarddddd. Eventually he squandered all his fortune and died penniless. Womp womp. But while the cash was still flowing, Henry and his wife were serious ballers. They had a shower made of Italian marble, and even had an indoor toilet – GASP. (I don’t know, apparently this was unheard of at the time.)

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The castle is full of gorgeous, majestic rooms, which is no doubt why it’s been used as a filming location for a ton of movies – most notably X-Men, Chicago, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and lots more.

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We’d also heard there was a nice view to check out from the top of the tower, so we began our ascent.

FYI, hell is walking up this cramped, winding, miserable stairwell in a never-ending circle for all of eternity.

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Funny enough, this part of the castle is what felt the most “Europe-y” to me, as it brought me right back to traumatic memories of climbing the Belfry bell tower in Bruges, Belgium:

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You will never appreciate personal space more than the moment you emerge from this soul-crushing staircase.

Finally we got to the top, and even through the small prison-grade windows, the views of the city are some of the best I’ve seen.

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To keep the “Europe-y” feel of the day going, we headed to Enoteca Sociale for dinner – an Italian wine bar with nice décor and a warm, friendly feel. And in true European style, we drew out our time there as long as we possibly could.

We started with some red wine and a cheese platter, complete with candied pecans, green apple, honey, and berry compote.

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Then we had some red wine and the gnocchi with tomato, chili and smoked ricotta. The ricotta was basically a big dollop of creamy cheese that I spread all around to encompass every inch of pasta. It was out of this world good.

Then after some red wine, I finished the meal with the chocolate marquise. I was surprised to learn that my rich, chocolate dessert came with candied hazelnuts and… olive oil.

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This completely threw me for a loop but the server reassured me it was good. He did not lie to me. I can’t explain how or why the oil works. I just know that it damn well does.

All in all we were there for over 3 hours. We truly indulged and savoured the ambiance, the food, and most importantly, the conversation. If calories weren’t a thing, I’d say this is how every dinner should be.

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