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Growing up, his father, Bruno Martino, presented holiday exhibitions every year in front of their family restaurant Mama Martino’s Pasta and Pizzeria Restaurant.

“It all started, if you want to go back before I was even born. My dad built Halloween displays at our Martino’s family business over there on the Queensway. Little Halloween displays, Christmas displays, even for Valentine’s Day, he would throw decorations and Easter, ”Fernando told Narcity.

From the age of 12, Fernando says he was in charge of Martino’s exhibitions and that his passion for horror, especially for bringing it to life in a tangible way, was nurtured throughout his childhood.

“Growing up over the years I started to join him and eventually my dad said, ‘Do you just want to take over the screens for me? “And I was about 12, 13 years old and over the years we just progressed and then he said, ‘Why don’t you just go bigger and bring him home and just do the front lawn? “”

This is how the snowball that would become Martino Manor began to roll. The front lawn turned into a passage and the passage turned into a house passage of what would one day be the mansion.

How Martino Manor was born

In 2017, a conversation with his father changed Fernando’s life.

About 30 years earlier, his father had bought a house on the property behind the family restaurant. But as the mortgage continued to suck profits, he turned to his son to gut the interior and turn it into rental property.

“There was a house behind the restaurant that needed updating that he bought about 30 years ago and I walked in and said ‘The amount of money you have to spend on renovations here, you will never get it back. ‘”

Half-jokingly, Fernando offered to turn it into a haunted house. “I said how about turning that into a haunted house on an attraction and getting people to walk through?”

Two weeks later, Fernando showed up to work at the restaurant and his father offered him a loan of over $ 100,000 to make Martino Manor a reality and gave him his first animatronic.

“Wow, it was like winning the lottery, then. It’s my passion.”

“I took into consideration the demo and renovation costs and we cut them in half,” he said. “It was cheaper to do and he was a lot happier doing it that way because, like I said, we would never get our money back. You know, you can’t get that kind of money back. money through rent and we have a mortgage on the house too. “

Fernando had a year without rent to turn a dilapidated house into a working horror house before he started paying rent on the property.

Where it is today

Martino Manor opened in 2018 and has now become a Halloween tradition in Toronto for many of the city’s residents.

In October, the mansion will reopen after closing last year due to COVID-19, and Fernando has some new horrors up his sleeve for this year and next.

What are they, you ask? Fernando says: “You will just have to come and check them yourself.”

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