City hall storms Casa Loma’s gates! (Well, sort of)

City hall storms Casa Loma’s gates! (Well, sort of)

The City won the battle for Casa Loma (Image: Carsten Kebler)

While the rest of the city has managed to go about its business without really noticing, there’s a long-running feud taking place between city council and the Kiwanis Club over Toronto’s most romantic historic mansion. The Kiwanians have been running Casa Loma since 1937, but for the last four years there have been murmurs that the city should take over the castle’s operations. Unfortunately, the takeover probably won’t involve a Game of Thrones–style siege—nor swordplay or direwolves—so an HBO miniseries is out of the question. Instead it looks like it will entail an amicable (read: boring) breakup and, in typical Toronto fashion, a buyout.

Quoth the Globe and Mail:

The deal, to be presented next week to the city’s executive committee, would set up a new corporation and board to manage the rambling mansion and develop a long-term strategy for the five-acre site. If approved by council, the pact will be the latest twist in a years-long debate over how to make the most of the massive property that has struggled to pull in visitors, especially since the recession. It also brokers an amiable end to the sometimes troubled partnership between the city and the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma. Just three years ago, the club battled hard to win a new 20-year management contract, only to have questions raised about that deal last summer.

“There is a unique set of skills that is required to run a castle in a modern environment,” said Councillor Joe Mihevc, an ex-officio member of Casa Loma’s board. “A service club might not have that expertise. I think there is a recognition that we have to up the game.”

The city’s main objections are that the Kiwanis Club hasn’t kept the interior of the house up to standard and that it hasn’t brought in many tourists, even though Casa Loma has been a favourite shooting location for movies like X-Men and Scott Pilgrim vs. the World. But both the city and Kiwanis probably want to forget that last one.

Kiwanis Club gives up operation of Casa Loma [Globe and Mail]
City wants Casa Loma [Toronto Sun]
City to take over Casa Loma from Kiwanis Club [Toronto Star]
Toronto poised to regain Casa Loma control [CBC]