Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto

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Afternoon Tea At Casa Loma During Winterlicious

We love to splurge and enjoy the Afternoon Tea experience. Sometimes we plan afternoon tea when we travel. Afternoon Tea in Cape Town on Christmas Day was a great way to celebrate a holiday away from home. Afternoon Tea with fellow travel bloggers (Pam and John from @Always5Star) when we were both in Seattle was a great treat. We had Afternoon Tea at several different spots in Toronto already. But Afternoon Tea at a castle in Toronto was on the list to plan. When it showed up on the list of Winterlicious restaurants, we made sure we got in before the limited spots were gone.

Winterlicious (and Summerlicious) are held in Toronto for about 10 days in the winter and summer. It is one of the tasting things to do in Toronto! During this period, a large number of restaurants provide lunch and/or dinner menus at discounted prices. It is a great time to try a new spot or a new cuisine. We were excited when we saw Casa Loma on the list for “High Tea”. If you read my first post on Afternoon Tea, it clearly distinguishes “High Tea” (more of an early light dinner) from “Afternoon Tea” (tea and nibbles served earlier in the day). While the Case Loma event was called “High Tea”, I really believe it was “Afternoon Tea”. But whatever it was called, we found Afternoon Tea at a castle in Toronto to be great!

Casa Loma Is The Castle In Toronto

From the outside Casa Loma certainly looks like a castle. It has all the turrets we’ve come to look for in castles we have seen around Europe. This castle was only built in 1911 to look like a castle by Sir Henry Pellatt. The family only lived in the castle for 10 years before financial challenges resulted in it being sold.

Casa Loma Front - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Back - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Back - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma sits on 5 acres high on a hill overlooking Toronto. While once it stood out of the city, today it is surrounded by houses and commercial properties. But you can still look out and see the CN Tower.

Casa Loma View To CN Tower - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

The old stables still stand close to the castle. From the upper windows of the castle we saw the stables. David searched until he found the stairs to the secret tunnel that can take you right to the stables.

Casa Loma Stables - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Stables - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Stables - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma was the perfect location to enjoy Afternoon Tea at a castle in Toronto!

Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto

Two large rooms were set up for Afternoon tea. We were in the Conservatory, a bright room packed with tables. The Library was also set up for Afternoon Tea. This looked like a much more traditional tea room but lacked the beautiful stained glass ceiling we found in the Conservatory. The stained class ceilings reminded me so much of the beautiful ones we saw in the Chicago Cultural Centre when we visited Chicago!

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea in the Conservatory - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea in the Conservatory Stained Glass Ceiling - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea in the Library - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

When we walked in we saw large tables stocked with food. Our server quickly noted that the Afternoon Tea was not a buffet. The serving staff filled their trays from the staging room.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Food and Tea Prep - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Sweets Tray - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

There was even music in the Conservatory as we ate. The musician took her place beside the golden harp with her bejewelled violin. She played a selection of music to the mostly oblivious crowd. Luckily we were sitting close to her and could hear the music over the din in the room. The music was a lovely addition to our Afternoon Tea in a castle in Toronto!

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Harp and violin - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

As I noted in my first Afternoon Tea blog post, fancy hats were often worn at Afternoon Tea. We were happy to see this Afternoon Tea tradition was observed by a few people. These hats are called “fascinators”. We made sure to capture a group of lovely ladies with their fascinators.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Fascinator Hats - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Afternoon Tea Started With A Fixed Menu

We started our Afternoon Tea experience a little disappointed. When we enjoyed other Afternoon Teas, we were always delighted to be able to select from a wide range of teas. At one place, they even had custom teas designed for them. At Casa Loma, we were given only the choice of Earl Grey, Green Tea or a Rooibos. And the tea was poured from large pots and not from an individual tea pot with tea leaves.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Selection - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

In other Afternoon Teas we have enjoyed, you are served with one large tiered serving platter with a fixed food menu. That was not the case for our Afternoon Tea at a castle in Toronto. A serving person first showed up with a tray of scones and croissants. You could choose what and how much you wanted. And then select from butter, cinnamon butter, jam or clotted cream to spread on top. We had a selection to start our feast. Shortly after we had scones we were then served a warm crumpet. This helped to clear up the toppings we didn’t use on the scones and croissants.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Scones and Croissants - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

For the savoury dish, each person was served a plate with a fixed selection: egg salad croissant, liver paté, cucumber roll with crab, roast beef on a Yorkshire pudding and a yummy onion quiche. David was able to substitute out his egg salad. There was a great selection of different tastes.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Savoury Tray - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

But The Sweet Selections For Afternoon Tea Were Endless

After the savoury dish, we were served a custard with fruit on top to help cleanse our palette.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Custard - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

And then the fun began! Usually there is a fixed sweet offering for Afternoon Teas. But servers showed up at the table with trays filled with different kinds of sweets. You could pick whatever caught your fancy. And every time the trays came out, there seemed to be a different selection of sweets. When we found a peanut butter chocolate sweet particularly yummy, our server Megan headed out to find more.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Sweets Tray - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

When we went back to the Great Hall after Afternoon Tea, we saw where the endless supply of sweets came from. There was a giant pastry tree. At 20’, we were told it was the highest pastry tree in the world. Chef Michael Ewing presided over the pastry tree and the loading of the server trays.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Sweets Tree - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Sweets Tree - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Sweets Tree With Chef Michael Ewing - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

When we wandered in the Great Hall, Megan offered up trays with more sweets. So if you just visit Casa Loma on a day that Afternoon Tea is served, you will also get a sweet treat.

Casa Loma Afternoon Tea Sweets Tray - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

The vast offering of sweets was the most unusual and best part of our Afternoon Tea in a castle in Toronto!

Wandering Around Casa Loma

With our Afternoon Tea reservation, we were allowed to wander around Casa Loma. We did not pick up an audio guide but that would have been a good idea if you really want the details and history on each room. It was very interesting to see a castle in North America. We spent the fall touring castles in Northern Europe. We knew this would not really be the same!

The first thing that caught our attention in the Great Hall was the Wurlitzer Organ. The keyboard sat in a glass alcove on the main floor. The pipes for the organ covered a large portion of the two storey wall in the Great Hall. When we wandered upstairs, we could look in on the mechanisms of the organ. Nobody played the organ while we were there but it would have been an amazing sound.

 Wurlitzer Organ Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

 Wurlitzer Organ Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

 Wurlitzer Organ Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Also on the main floor was the Oak Room. It looked like it was set up as an elegant restaurant. I was simply fascinated to see a portrait of “The Artist Known As Prince” on one end and Queen Elizabeth on the other.

Prince in Oak Room at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Queen Elizabeth in Oak Room at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Sir Pellatt’s suite had a beautiful fireplace. But what attracted David more was the hidden wall panel that revealed the stairs to the hidden staircases and the tunnel to the stables.

Sir Pellatts Study at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Secret Stairs in Sir Pellatts Study at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Everywhere we went through Casa Loma we found interesting pieces of art. I am always drawn to the interesting figures that top columns. There were modern art statues in a few spots. A beautiful ivory peacock on a Chinese screen decorated one bedroom.

Art at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Modern Art at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Peacock Chinese Art at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Heading Upstairs In Casa Loma

The second floor of Casa Loma provided an insight into life at the time that the Pellatts lived in the castle. Bedrooms suites were on display. One came complete with a tiger head rug.

Bedrooms at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Tigers Head in Bedrooms at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

There were a number of sitting rooms on the second floor. They were decorated with period pieces of furniture and finishings.

Parlour Sitting Rooms at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

Parlour Sitting Rooms at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

We headed up to the third floor to find a series of exhibit rooms. The hall showed off an interesting array of portraits.

Portrait Gallery at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

One room was dedicated to the history of the Pellatts, different properties owned by the family and a little interesting history about Casa Loma. David was interested to find that the castle had been used for submarine detection.

Top Secret Submarine at Casa Loma - Afternoon Tea At A Castle In Toronto.jpg

There were displays of weapons, clothes and even a room dedicated to the Group of Seven Canadian painters. There was so much history to be gleaned if you wandered slowly through the third floor. A set of stairways even took you up to the top of the turrets!

We didn’t head up to the lower level of the castle. The cafe and gift shop were down there. You could also access the tunnel to the stable from here.

A Great Day At Casa Loma For Afternoon Tea

It was a delicious Afternoon Tea at a castle in Toronto. There was a good selection of foods to choose from. We were very happy that we booked this during the Winterlicious food festival. It should certainly be on your list of Afternoon Teas to try in Toronto.

David and I grew up in Toronto and visited Casa Loma as children as part of the school curriculum. We had pictures taken with Santa Claus at Casa Loma when we were young. Coming to Afternoon Tea was a very adult way to see Casa Loma.

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David and His Sister Valerie in 1964

It was great to be able to wander around the castle when Afternoon Tea was finished. Even without Afternoon Tea, visiting Casa Loma as the only castle in Toronto, is a good thing to put on your list of things to do in Toronto. Take an audio guide and you will learn so much!

Have you done Afternoon Tea at a castle in Toronto? Did you enjoy a chance to explore Casa Loma?

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22 Comments

    • Audrey, You should definitely visit Casa Loma if you are in Toronto. Strange to see it in the city – and there is a good view. They have a restaurant and you can eat there. I don’t think they do Afternoon Tea all the time so you need to check on that. But there are tons of other great Afternoon Teas in Toronto if that is your craving. One winter we toured several of them 😀 Linda

  1. Casa Loma in Toronto looks like such a spectacular setting for having an afternoon tea. What a special occasion this must have been. A bit of a let down that the choices of tea are so limited. But I guess the large range of sweets made up for this. I also love the views over Toronto you have from the castle.

    • Sabine, It was a delightful way to spend a Sunday afternoon. The large selection of sweets absolutely made up for the lack of tea selection! A great thing to do if it is on when you visit Toronto. Linda

  2. Being a fan of tea, this sounds like something I would love to do. The castle is so cool and I never would have thought it was in Toronto. The stained glass is so pretty and my son would be impressed by the book shelves (he is a mega reader). I really want to visit a place for tea time now. It is neat they let you wander around the castle after tea time.

    • Chris, I too am an Afternoon Tea fan and we try to do them as often as we can in different kinds of spots. This one in our home town was perfect! I had not been back to Casa Loma since I was a child. So I really enjoyed the chance to wander after our tea. And to burn off a few of the calories from the unlimited sweet selection. Linda

  3. I didn’t know there was a distinction between a “High Tea’ and ‘Afternoon Tea’ before. That’s one cool knowledge I’ve gained today. 🙂 I love the location of this particular afternoon tea that you’ve booked. Casa Lomo looks amazing and I’d love to try it myself. The fascinators’ are equally as interesting. So good to know that there are still people who still wear it during afternoon Tea.

    • Marvi, We did a round of many Afternoon Tea spots so I did my research at that time about “Afternoon” versus “High”. Before that I thought the fancier the tea the more “High” tea it was. In fact, it is opposite. High tea was just a food break for average people. I love when I see ladies all dressed in fancy hats. Casa Loma is great for meals and to visit as well. So if you plan a trip to Toronto, it should be on the list. Linda

  4. It’s been quite a long time since I’ve been in Toronto, but I have no recollection of ever visiting this castle. It looks like a very exquisite place to have an afternoon tea. I always thought “high tea” and “afternoon tea” are one and the same thing, so thanks for educating me about that.

    • Anda, I think that Casa Loma only does Afternoon Tea at some times of the year. So check in advance. But it is still a great spot to visit when you are in Toronto. I did the research on “Afternoon” versus “High” Tea when I wrote another blog about our exploration of many of the Afternoon Tea spots in Toronto. Another great activity if you visit Toronto. Linda

  5. I love afternoon tea, and this looks like an amazing place for it. I would be all over that 20 foot sweet tree, and would definitely test their definition of “endless!” It is surprising that they don’t have an equal number of tea choices.

    • Lois, Casa Loma was definitely a great place for Afternoon Tea. We could not believe how big the sweet tree was when we walked in. And I was very surprised when they kept circling with trays of sweets. Not a place to be on a diet! I must admit that we have been spoiled with other Afternoon Teas that have really interesting tea selections. But I liked my green citrus tea so I was good. Hubby just missed having a chocolate tea selection! Linda

  6. Casa Loma makes for a perfect setting for an Afternoon Tea. What a grand and lovely place. The stained glass ceiling in the conservatory looks so exquisite. The food served also looks so varied. Of course, the serving of sweets from the Pastry tree seems to be the highlight of the afternoon.

    • Sandy, It was a great treat to be able to do Afternoon Tea at Casa Loma. We have experienced a wide range of Afternoon Teas in Toronto. But this was probably the most unusual setting. And certainly the endless sweet trays was not your normal Afternoon Tea experience. Linda

  7. Beautiful and calming! The title itself makes me want to jump in the article right away if it was a real castle or not! haha And then when I saw the photos oh yea, it’s a real castle! I do love afternoon tea and sometimes I try on my own in my room but sure does afternoon tea here at a castle in Toronto is fascinating! The sweets and pastries too would make you indulge more! Sweet, I love it! Plus a great selection of tea, yay! what else could you ask for? Would surely love to visit here one day!

    • Cathy, Casa Loma certainly does look like a castle from inside and out. It just lacks some of the interesting history you find surrounding castles in Europe. A reminder of how young Toronto really is. we were happy to get reservations for Afternoon Tea and were delighted with the spread they put on. If you visit Toronto, a visit to Casa Loma is certainly a great thing to do. Linda

  8. What a brilliant post. The concept of afternoon tea is somewhat new to me. I liked the selection of thingS they served you. The rooms on the second floor are super luxurious. Loved your pictures

    • Suruchi, I am glad we could introduce you to Afternoon Tea. It is an indulgence we often make when we are travelling. The variety of settings and tea presentation varies so much from spot to spot. It was great to find this unique Afternoon Tea in our home town. Glad you like the pics. Hope they didn’t get you drooling too much! Linda

  9. I’ll have to make sure our trip to Toronto next year coincides with either Winterlicious or Summerlicious. Hadn’t heard of either, so thanks for the heads up. I also love the afternoon tea experience – the best Canadian afternoon tea I had was at the Fairmont Empress in Victoria – WOW that was incredible. Probably nothing on tea at a castle though! Casa Loma looks so beautiful, and the conservatory is such a stunning setting for afternoon tea – love those stained glass windows! Everything is so fancy! Sidenote – I totally want a silver bedazzeled violin!! Massive bonus to be able to walk around and explore the castle afterwards – cool experience!

    • Megan, Planning a Toronto trip around Summerlicious or Winterlicious is a great plan. Especially if you are a foodie. A great way to taste test your way around Toronto. You can book the lunches and dinners online. The Fairmont Empress must have been a special spot to have tea. The Fairmont properties are all quite classic. But Casa Loma offered the only tea we have been too with an unlimited sweet tray and a castle visit. Definitely worth checking out on your Toronto visit! Linda

  10. I live so close to Toronto! And this looks absolutely lovely! The food looks absolutely lovely. I am a huge tea lover myself, and there is nothing better when tea is paired with freshly baked pastries! 🙂

    • Alli, The Afternoon Tea experience is always quite an indulgence for us. We like the selection at Casa Loma, but particularly the unlimited sweet trays! The setting added to the treat! Linda

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