TAGS x-men


The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning is a safe haven for mutants the world over in the 'X-Men' movies, giving the persecuted a place where they can find supportive friends. Owned and operated by Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), the sprawling mansion serves as a school, and is also the secret headquarters for the elite mutant team known as the X-Men. Xavier's invention, Cerebro -- a machine that can detect mutants all over the world -- is also housed there.

Many important relationships are developed at the Institute in the 'X-Men' universe. It's where Xavier convinces Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to join the X-Men; Rogue (Anna Paquin) finds sanctuary and comfort amongst her own kind at the school; and love blooms between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Cyclops (James Marsden). The Institute is the center of the mutant universe in more ways than one.

The Xavier Institute for Higher Learning is a safe haven for mutants the world over in the 'X-Men' movies, giving the persecuted a place where they can find supportive friends. Owned and operated by Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), the sprawling mansion serves as a school, and is also the secret headquarters for the elite mutant team known as the X-Men. Xavier's invention, Cerebro -- a machine that can detect mutants all over the world -- is also housed there.

Many important relationships are developed at the Institute in the 'X-Men' universe. It's where Xavier convinces Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to join the X-Men; Rogue (Anna Paquin) finds sanctuary and comfort amongst her own kind at the school; and love blooms between Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Cyclops (James Marsden). The Institute is the center of the mutant universe in more ways than one.

Location as Character: The school serves as the perfect location to bring all the mutants together under one roof, where they can discuss their next moves and plans. Xavier has dreams of a peaceful world in which mutants and humans can co-exist without war or discrimination. Much of the 'X-Men' franchise takes place within the walls of the Institute, and mutants grow from immature, reckless beings into masterful users of their own powers, usually to promote good (with few exceptions).

Historical Significance: In real life, the Institute is actually a castle nestled in downtown Toronto. Named Casa Loma, it was built between 1911 and 1914 by Sir Henry Pellatt, a prominent Toronto financier, industrialist and military officer. It took more than 300 men and approximately $3.5 million to complete. However, Pallatt experienced financial hardship and was forced to auction off the contents of his home and abandon the castle after only 10 years. Following years of neglect, the castle was leased from the city and restored by the Kiwanis Club of Casa Loma.

Casa Loma is well known for its many secret passages and hallways, and is a favorite school trip for Toronto kids. It boasts 98 rooms, and at one point was the largest private residence in Canada. In an upscale residential area, the towers of the castle rise up above the trees. Surrounding the structure are yards of beautiful manicured gardens, which are often used for wedding photos and other celebrations.

Fun Facts: Casa Loma has had a starring role in dozens of movies, not just 'X-Men.' 'Robocop,' 'Chicago,' 'Police Academy,' and many others have filmed within the walls of the castle. Also, during World War II, Casa Loma was used to conceal research on sonar, and for construction of sonar devices for U-boat detection. So in a way, there really was a secret headquarters there!

Address: 1 Austin Terrace, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M5R 1X8

Directions: There are several ways to get there, depending on where you're coming from and how you're traveling. By subway, go to Dupont Station and walk north a block, just above Davenport Road. There you can climb the infamous stairs to the castle (and on the way check out the amazing gardens).

By car, exit Highway 401 at Avenue Road, and head south until you hit Dupont Road. Turn right and keep going until you hit Spadina Road. Turn right and you'll reach Davenport Road. Turn left, and then make a quick right at Walmer Road. You'll round a curve and the castle will be on your right.

Visitor Info: Casa Loma can be reached at (416) 923-1171. It is open daily from 9:30AM - 5:00PM (last admission: 4:00PM). Casa Loma closes at 1:00PM on Christmas Eve, and is closed Christmas Day. For prices and more specifics, visit the castle's website.