Casa Loma may get new management—but who should be new king of the castle?

Casa Loma may get new management—but who should be new king of the castle?

(Image: Robert Taylor)

One of the fights brewing this summer has nothing to do with the mayoral race (so far). Instead, this is a fight between David Miller and the Kiwanis Club, which currently runs Casa Loma on behalf of the city. Between accusations of mismanagement and conflicts of interest, the city has demanded that the Kiwanis Club sack the current head, Richard Wozenilek, whom it accuses of conflict of interest (apparently, he funnelled $200,000 worth of legal work to himself). Kiwanis has refused, so this will all come to a head at a council meeting later this month.

What to do until then? We thought we’d speculate wildly about some potential new caretakers of Toronto’s tacky castle on the hill.

Disney: Asking hip downtown families to drive all the way out to Vaughan to enjoy an amusement park might as well be asking them to travel to Lebanon for the hummus. (Don’t they know how much a car share costs these days?) A pint-sized playland in the middle of the city is just what the doctor ordered.

The Feds: What, this doesn’t sound like a feudal arrangement? Toronto pays more to the province and feds than it gets back in spending, and the only time that Queen’s Park or Ottawa actually show up in force is to knock some heads when the locals get out of line. Putting a Canadian version of the sheriff of Nottingham in Casa Loma would be fitting, all things considered. Also, if we leave it to Ottawa to manage, we might get some decent roads out of it.

The Gap: It doesn’t have to be that particular retailer, but surely some form of large merchant could do something, anything, with Casa Loma. Drop a Boston Pizza and an American Apparel in there somewhere and attendance would increase, we guarantee. It’s also far enough away from the lake that nobody could complain we were polluting the precious beach with anything as horrible as a competitive bidding process.

The Losers: Just about the only thing we know about the election for mayor at this point is that only one person can win it. With more than 20 candidates, that’s going to leave many vanquished politicians with nothing to do except go back to their respective lucrative careers. Or—just spitballin’ here—they could take over a real-life castle and wait for the crowds to turn on Miller’s successor just as surely as they’ve turned on him. (Bonus points if they come to our rescue on a horse.) While they wait behind thick stone walls, they can add to their revenue with a reality TV show. The Surreal Life: Toronto, anyone?

John Tory: He’s run organizations both large (Rogers) and small (the Ontario Progressive Conservative caucus) with varying levels of skill, but nobody has ever accused him of any unethical conduct—unlike the current management of Casa Loma. He says he’s ignoring city politics because he can do more good on the outside, and Casa Loma could use his help. And let’s face it—Toronto’s press will be happier with King John safely in his castle. The only problem will be getting Tory to make up his mind—and by that time, even this castle might have turned to dust.

• City weighs options on Casa Loma [Toronto Star]

• Kiwanis Club defies city in Casa Loma dispute [Toronto Star]

• Kiwanis rejects city’s demand to fire Casa Loma chair [Globe and Mail]