It was raining when we arrived at the castle, Casa Loma. Fitting weather and the perfect venue in which to experience the Princess Diana exhibition: Accredited Access, a photo-documentary of one of the most photographed women in the world–and the most beloved.
From the moment we begin to make our way up the narrow wooden staircase to the personal rooms and the exhibit, we are emotionally transported into the story. These private rooms seem to embrace the breathtaking visual experience and add the bonus of reality. World famous Royal Photographers, Anwar Hussein and sons Samir and Zak narrate vivid, personal and never-before-told stories behind the larger-than-life photographs and murals. We are guided through an elaborate 60-minute journey featuring six different themed sections: Darkroom, Growing, Glam, Crowning glory, Humanitarianism and Unguarded, featuring photography, art and artifacts. The collection celebrates the life of Princess Diana and her emotional path through an intimate new lens.
The exhibit is thought provoking. There are photos of her sons and their wives. Would Princess Diana have approved of her daughters-in-law? Would these three Royals have become true friends? Another photo in the exhibit will stay with me forever: Princess Diana is visiting a village where women are seated on the ground. One woman has reached out to put her hands around the foot of the Princess and kisses her shoe. The hand of Diana’s guide has reached out to stop this action, while Diana has reached down to hold the woman’s hand. The photo of Diana standing tall on a dangerous dusty road where there could be land-mines is riveting. And there is a fascinating video of a sculptor, creating works on display here, that are inspired by Princess Diana’s hats.
Art installations from renowned multimedia artist, Pauline Loctin have been developed exclusively for Accredited Access and are inspired by some of Diana’s most famous moments. This family-friendly, immersive experience has received rave reviews and is now running in Chicago and Los Angeles, but these cities did not have the added character of Casa Loma in their exhibits. Thank you to Liberty Entertainment Group for being the first to host this exhibit in Canada.
Tickets to Princess Diana: Accredited Access are on sale at www.casaloma.ca and are $30 Sunday through Thursday and $35 Friday and Saturday. VIP dinner packages for Blue Blood Steakhouse are $235 plus tax and gratuity including a prefix menu with admission to the exhibit. Timed entry runs hourly from 5:00 PM, last admittance is at 9:00 PM for the approximately one-hour program. Running April 20 to June 12, 2022
Sara Waxman, OOnt, is an award-winning restaurant critic, best-selling cookbook author, food and travel journalist and has eaten her way through much of the free world for four decades, while writing about it in books, newspapers and magazines. She is the Editor in Chief of DINE and Destinations magazine.