Article from the Post City Magazines: City deciding on the future of Casa Loma this month Published On Mon May 16 2011

City deciding on the future of Casa Loma this month


This month a report concerning the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma's management of the city-owned tourist attraction will go before the City of Toronto's executive committee. The Kiwanis Club has leased the castle from the city since 1937.

The report comes several months after the club missed deadlines related to the upgrade of the facility, in addition to a conflict of interest that surfaced involving Richard Wozenilek, the chair of the Casa Loma board of directors.

Michael Williams, the city's general manager of economic development and culture, confirmed working on the report, but he could not release any details.

“All I can say is we're having constructive conversations,” he said.

Last July, Toronto City Council voted to terminate the lease agreement with the Kiwanis Club unless certain conditions were met by the end of August. One of the conditions came specifically from former mayor David Miller. He requested that Wozenilek step down and that the board tasked with the upgrades suggest a new chair. Wozenilek was called into question for failing to declare that he worked for law firm Keel Cottrelle, which had been hired by and received a $118,000 payment from Casa Loma.

Though Wozenilek preferred not to comment, he did confirm that he is still chair of the upgrade committee. He also said he has confidence in Kiwanis' management of Casa Loma. “They've been there for over 70 years; they've done quite well,” he said.

Williams said he has been working with the club these past few months to come to a resolution. “We'd been asked by council to work with Kiwanis to resolve issues of dispute,” he said. “We've been making continuous progress the last few months.”

Trelawny Howell, the great-grandniece of Casa Loma's original owner, Sir Henry Pellatt, said the Kiwanis Club has mismanaged the castle for years and that she hopes the report will motivate council to terminate the lease agreement.“I'm hoping and praying that Mayor Ford will live up to his election promise to stop sole source contracts,” she said.

Williams said once the report is approved by executive committee it will go before city council for final approval.
This article appears in the May 2011 issue of Post City Magazines