Sir Henry Pellatt, the dreamer behind Toronto's famous landmark Casa Loma, was born to British parents in Kingston, Ontario on January 6, 1859. Ambitious from his youth, Sir Henry Pellattleft his studies at Upper Canada College when he was seventeen to pursue a career in commerce in the family business. By the age of 23, he became a full partner in his father'sstock brokeragefirm Pellatt and Pellatt. That year also marked his marriage to Mary Dodgeson whom he met when he was twenty.
Even as a young man, Henry Pellatt embraced the spirit of the family motto "Devant Si Je Puis" or "ForemostIf I Can". When he met his bride-to-be, Sir Pellatthad already achieved local reknown in 1879 for beating the U. S. amateur champion in the running of the mile. Travels in Europe gave him the love for fine art and architecture which would spur his vision of Casa Loma-"House on the Hill." This romantic side wasmirrored by his other lifelong passion-his involvement with the military, specifically the Queen's Own Rifles.
Casa Loma took three years and $3.5 million to build. Sir Henry Pellattfilled Casa Loma with artwork from Canada and around the world. Casa Loma stood as a monument to its creator - it surpassed any private home in North America. With soaring battlements and secret passageways, it paid homage to the castles and knights of days gone by.
Sir Henry Pellatt's numerous business and military connections demanded entertaining on a large scale. Casa Loma's romantic borrowing from the past, tempered by necessary modern day conveniences, provided the perfect setting. In the height of their years at Casa Loma, the planning of such a busy social calendar consumed much of Lady Pellatt's time.
In addition to hosting grand social events, the Pellatt's were involved in a number of philanthropic projects. Sir Henry Pellatt was a trustee and benefactor of Trinity College and a strong supporter of Grace Hospital. The organization of the St. John's Ambulance Brigade in Canada is due largely to his efforts. Lady Pellatt, in spite of her frail health, played an active role in the promotion of Girl Guides of Canada. She was appointed the first Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada and in 1919 was honoured with the Girl Guides highest award, the Silver Fish.