Seated on a bench in the manicured gardens of Casa Loma, Trelawny Howell recalls her late mother's fond memories of the famous relative who built the "house on the hill."
Sir Henry Pellatt was a larger-than-life Toronto entrepreneur, philanthropist and military enthusiast -- a symbol of the city's expansive ambitions at the dawn of the 20th century.
Ms. Howell says her mother, Peggy Chadwick, only knew the iconic figure as "Uncle Harry," the great-uncle who spoiled the little girl growing up in the early 1920s.
"She adored him and he called her 'girlie,' " says Ms. Howell, a great-grandniece of Sir Henry, who built Casa Loma between 1911 and 1914 but lost the mansion by 1923 blaming high property taxes and financial misfortunes.
Today, Casa Loma ranks as Toronto's third-biggest tourist draw,