Businessman Ahead of His Time
As a partner in Pellatt and Pellatt, Sir Henry Pellatt was a business visionary. In the same year that Thomas Edison developed steam-generated electricity, Sir Henry Pellatt realized that supplying electricity could be extremely profitable. He founded the Toronto Electric Light Company in 1883. By the time he was 30, the Toronto Electric Light Company enjoyed a monopoly on the supply of street lighting to the city of Toronto.
In 1892 his father retired, enabling Sir Henry Pellatt to invest with more risk. Despite vigorous discouragement from his friends, he purchased stock in the Canadian Pacific Railroad and in the North West Land Company. As with steam-generated electricity, his intuition was right on target. A liberal immigration policy led to opening of the Canadian West which led to healthy profits from his investments in both the Canadian Pacific Railroad and in the North West Land Company.
By 1901, Sir Henry Pellatt was chairman of 21 companies with interests in mining, insurance, land and electricity. In 1902, he and his partners won the rights to build the first Canadian hydro-generating plant at Niagara Falls. He was knighted in 1905 for his military service with the Queen's Own Rifles.
Sir Henry Pellatt's Midas touch continued through most of his business life. In 1911, armed with a fortune of $17 million, Sir Pellatt drew up planswith Canadian architect E.J. Lennox to build his dream castle. The land on which he planned to build had been given the name Casa Loma by its previous owner.