A Tradition of Giving: Sir Henry Pellatt and The St. George’s Society of Toronto

2018, Casa Loma, Exhibition, History, St George's Society
benevolence, Casa Loma, England, financier, history, immigration, philanthropy, Sir Henry Pellatt, St. George, St. George’s Society, Toronto
About This Project

Project Members: Samantha Eadie, Jennifer Lee, Kathleen Vahey, and Serena Ypelaar


Dates: July-August 2018


Venue: Casa Loma


The story of the St.George’s Society of Toronto is entwined with the history of the city itself. Originally founded in 1834 to aid English immigrants to Toronto, the Society has evolved alongside the city of Toronto and continues to serve an increasingly diverse community. Sir Henry Pellatt, a notable Torontonian and the builder of Casa Loma, served as President of the Society from 1930 to 1931 and was a lifelong member. A Tradition of Giving highlights his involvement with the Society in the context of its long history, from 1834 to the present. The exhibition showcases photographs, archival materials, and artifacts from the collection of the St. George’s Society of Toronto and Casa Loma to explore how the Society has grown while its traditions have endured: through two World Wars, the Great Depression, and the changing cultural landscape of 20th-century Toronto.


Since the exhibition will be displayed inside Casa Loma, it is intended for Casa Loma’s audience as well as members of the St. George’s Society of Toronto. Thus, the core audience will likely be adults, families with children of varying ages, tourists, and adults with an interest in local history.


The exhibition will be located in the Austin Room on the third floor of Casa Loma. Casa Loma was selected as an appropriate location for this exhibition because of the connection between the St. George’s Society of Toronto and Sir Henry Pellatt. The Austin Room is a large, bright, temporary exhibition space within Casa Loma.


The St. George’s Society of Toronto initiated the project and were the overseers and financial sponsors of the exhibition. They secured an arrangement with Casa Loma as a space for the exhibition and brought the MSL4000 exhibition team into the project. Displayed objects are from the St. George’s Society of Toronto’s collection and image reproductions are courtesy of the City of Toronto Archives, the City of Toronto Museums & Heritage Services, and York University Libraries – Clara Thomas Archives & Special Collections.


Exhibition planning commenced in September, 2018 once the final exhibition teams had been organized. The planning phase of the exhibition began with stakeholder meetings in October and November, 2018 to determine the scope and content of the exhibition, as well as constraints. The second phase, dedicated to development and design, extended from January to April, 2018 in order to select and prepare the media and to create exhibition content. All exhibition preparation was completed in April, 2018 in anticipation of the July, 2018 installation date. The exhibition will be on display until the end August, 2018.


The exhibition has adopted traditional display methods, focusing on historical objects, archival images and didactic material. Objects, which include presidential medals and reproduced archival records, are on view in display cases. Archival images, many of which are displayed on the wall, visually demonstrate the diverse philanthropic and social activities of the Society along with notable members, including Sir Henry Pellatt. The didactic material highlights key historical information about the Society, Sir Henry Pellatt’s role in the Society, and the ways in which Society continues to serve Torontonians. Accompanying the exhibition is a brochure that includes historical and biographical information of the Society and Sir Henry Pellatt as well as timeline that highlights important dates in the Society’s history, Sir Henry Pellatt’s life and major historical events.


The exhibition will be marketed internally amongst members of the St. George’s Society of Toronto in the form of e-newsletters. Casa Loma will promote the exhibition on its social media platforms at its discretion, as will the St. George’s Society of Toronto. Promotional cards will also detail the exhibition information for marketing purposes, and a pamphlet with an exhibition overview will be available in the space. As the exhibition opens during the summer, school group programming is not applicable, but the pamphlet may be circulated to summer camps visiting the space since it will be available.


As the exhibition will be installed in July 2018,  there are no tangible or intangible outcomes to relate at this time.




The exhibition team would like to extend their thanks to:


Samuel Minniti, Executive Director, SGS

Marcela Torres, Curator, Casa Loma

Frances Sommerville, Heritage Chair Committee, SGS

William Motley-Bailey, President, SGS

Joanne Galligan, Anchor Design

Tina Pimental, CJ Graphics

Matthew Brower, Rebecca Noone, Camille-Mary Sharp, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto