Thursday, August 16, 2018

Henry Pellatt and Huguette Filteau at the DCB

The Dictionary of Canadian Biography has recently released online its biography of Sir Henry Mill Pellatt, the Toronto businessman and society figure of the early 20th century, most famous for having built the folly-castle Casa Loma shortly before losing all his money and having to move to an apartment.

Pellatt is a figure familiar in Toronto history and heritage, but I don't think there has been an authoritative biography of him before this. It is a long biography, with rich detail on the development of the Toronto business class in the late 19th century, as well as on Pellatt's extensive militia career and his relentless search for honours, titles, and prestige.  The biography is by David Roberts, longtime staff member of the DCB in Toronto, and it's a credit to him and to the DCB.

The DCB also has published a nice tribute to the recently deceased Huguette Filteau, stalwart of the DCB's Quebec City office for many years -- and widow (who knew?) of the late historian of Quebec (and DBC editor) Jean Hamelin.

Update, August 24:  Irvin Sherman notes by email:
There is a biography on Sir Henry Pellatt entitled Sir Henry Pellatt, the King of Cara Loma by George Oreskovich (forward by Gordon Sinclair), 1982. See reference to this  book on

I read this book years ago. It was given to me by a client who worked for McGraw Hill, the publisher.
Indeed there is, and thank you (though the author is usually given as Carlie Oreskovich).  There have been a number of lively and useful books on Pellatt and Casa Loma -- another is by my good friend Bill Freeman. The DCB cites both of these, but after reading its account I felt the word "authoritative" covered me sufficiently.

Image: Henry Pellatt (not Hercule Poirot!) from DCB.

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