Henry Pellatt

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Sir Henry Pellatt
Henry Pellatt.png
Major-General Sir Henry Pellatt, CVO
Born (1859-01-06)January 6, 1859
Kingston, Ontario, Canada
Died March 8, 1939(1939-03-08) (aged 80)
Mimico, Ontario, Canada

Major General Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, CVO (January 6, 1859, Kingston, Ontario, Canada – March 8, 1939) was a well-known Canadian financier and soldier.

He is perhaps best known for his role in bringing hydro-electricity to Toronto, Ontario for the first time, and also for his famous château, called Casa Loma, in Toronto, which was the largest private residence ever constructed in Canada. Casa Loma would eventually become a famous landmark of the city. His summer home and farm in King City later became Mary Lake Augustinian Monastery.

Sir Henry was also a noted supporter of the Boy Scouts of Canada. His wife Lady Mary Pellatt was the first Chief Commissioner of the Girl Guides of Canada.

Early beginnings[edit]

He was educated at Upper Canada College before leaving in 1876 to join his father's stock brokerage company, Pellatt and Osler, as a clerk. In 1882, Osler and Pellatt parted ways, and Henry Jr. completed his apprenticeship and became a full member of the stock exchange. In the following year, Henry Pellatt Sr. set up a partnership with his son under the name Pellatt and Pellatt.

Pellatt enlisted as a Rifleman with The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada on November 2, 1876. In 1882 he married Mary Dodgson, who later became Lady Pellatt when he was created a Knight Bachelor by Edward VII in 1905 for his service with The Queen's Own Rifles of Canada.


In 1910, Sir Henry took the entire 600 man regiment (including its horses) to England for military training at his expense to mark the Regiment's 50th anniversary. The military exercises lasted from 13 August to 3 October.

Much of Pellatt's fortune was made through investments in the hydro electricity and railway industries in Canada. The strain of maintaining his large castle led him to ill-advised real estate investments which were unsuccessful. The Province expropriated his electrical power generating business, and his aircraft manufacturing business was later taken over as part of the war effort during World War I. Combined, these difficulties led to his near bankruptcy and forced him and Lady Pellatt to leave Casa Loma. Sir Henry Pellatt, virtually penniless, spent his final days at his chauffeur's home in the Toronto suburb of Mimico where he died.

Pellatt was promoted to the rank of Major-General upon his retirement from The Queen's Own Rifles regiment and made a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) in 1910. When he died on March 8, 1939, thousands lined Toronto streets to witness his funeral procession. He was buried with full military honours.[1]


He was born in Kingston, Ontario, the son of Henry Pellatt (1830-1909), a Glasgow-born stockbroker in Toronto,[2] and Emma Mary (née Holland) Pellatt, and was thus descended from the famous glassmaker Apsley Pellatt (1763–1826). He married twice, first to Mary Dodgson in Toronto in 1882 and, after Mary's 1924 death, Catharine Welland Merritt in Toronto in 1927. He had one son with his first wife, Reginald, born in 1885.

He had three sisters and two brothers, Fred Pellatt (grandfather of Toronto freelance writer John Pellatt) and Mill Pellatt (father of Mary Katherine Pellatt).[citation needed] The latter brother was paymaster of the Toronto Electric Light Company, a job obtained by Sir Henry. His sisters were Mary Kate, Marian Maria and Emily Mountford Pellatt. One of his nieces, Beatrix Hamilton, was married to Canadian economist and humourist Stephen Leacock.

Pellatt built Bailey House at the bend in Lake Shore near Fleeceline overlooking the commercial stretch on Lake Shore, in Mimico. He moved in with his chauffeur, and it was in that house Pellatt died[3] in 1939. He is buried at Forest Lawn Mausoleum in Toronto.

His life has been featured in the film The Pellatt Newsreel which aired on the Biography Channel and was nominated for a 2009 Gemini for Best Biography Documentary.[4]

Several biographies have been written about Pellatt. In particular, Carlie Oreskovich's "The King of Casa Loma" gives a detailed and thorough account.

His great-grandniece Trelawny Linda Howell also curates a website dedicated to his memory, CasaLomaTrust.ca.

See also[edit]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Casa Loma – Media Room – Press Releases at www.casaloma.org
  2. ^ Globe, "Mr. Henry Pellatt Dead", 26 July 1909, p. 7.
  3. ^ Toronto Sketches by Mike Filey, 1995
  4. ^ The Pellatt Newsreel. Lush Entertainment.

External links[edit]

Preceded by
Bargrave Deane
Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
Succeeded by
Sir William Bull, 1st Baronet