When I sat down to put together some material on this
subject, I soon found that this might just be
a classic case of getting the cart before the horse. I had, it seems, picked the subject
before knowing how much material I had. That, I guess, was the cart--and as a result what
you are going to be reading is the horse part--or at least a variation or relative
of that animal.
However, eventually I came up with a number of diverse items,
pulled them out of a hat that was my book that could be classified as Myths and
Mysteries--I was relieved to find that my choice had not, in fact, been a Mythstake.
What stands out, far above all of the items, is the question of
Casa Loma itself. Why? Why did he build it? What did Sir Henry actually have in mind in
constructing this magnificent monstrosity? Why was it designed as it was? Where did the
stones come from? Why did he need a tunnel? Did the regiment ever sleep in the basement?
Did Sir Henry ever have to sleep in the basement? Whey was the pool never finished? Was
the castle ever finished? Did Royalty ever sleep here?
That takes care of the castle. There are many other questions as
well. Many that go well beyond the thick walls that surround the place. How did Pellatt
make his money? Why was he overlooked as Lieutenant Governor? Where was the fist Casa
Loma? Was there a first Casa Loma? What was Sir Henry's relationship with E. J. Lennox?
Why did he take the entire QOR Regiment to England in 1910? Why is there so little
material available on his life? How did he lose his money? And returning to the castle
again--was it, in fact, taxes that did him in?
Those are the questions and if I remember I might tell you about
the Pellatt curse.
One of the major difficulties in looking at Pellatt's life is the
fact that this structure far overshadows the man. In spite of the fact that it only took
up a small part of his life, some ten years out of eighty, its sheer odd magnificence
draws the mind to it as strongly as planetary magnetism sucks in life itself. That's why
few of the thousands of people who come through each year ever remember who or what a
Pellatt is. And none at all would know that there was another Casa Loma. A first Casa
Pellatt just may be a hero, in a country that has few heroes.
Certainly he was an eccentric. In fact in a rather full life Pellatt manipulated stocks to
artificially inflate prices; he borrowed so heavily he contributed to the collapse of a
bank; illegally used insurance funds of Manufacturers' Life to play on the stock
market; formed syndicated to control and artificially manipulate the prices of stocks; and
even though he as worth millions in his prime...17 million at a time when a decent suit
cost no more than $5...he died penniless. A hero...anything but.
But when you look around at the castle, look at what he built, you
get a different image. There should be more mad men like Pellatt around. As well I'd like
to have you consider too that Sir Henry was a champion mile runner. At one time he was the
fasted thing on two feet, and in 1879, he became the North American Amateur Champion.