Guild Park & Gardens - Historic Places Days

Guild Park & Gardens

Toronto, Ontario
Type
Park/Landscape
Address
201 Guildwood Pkwy, Toronto, Scarborough, ON, Canada
Get directions
Hours
24/7
Phone
416 816 9701

Guild Park & Gardens is a historic place where art meets nature.

Located on Toronto’s Scarborough Bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario, Guild Park includes 36 hectares (88 acres) of woods, waterfront, formal gardens, plus a unique collection of public art and architectural fragments.

Guild Park is best known as site of the innovative Guild of All Arts, an artists’ community founded in 1932 by philanthropists Rosa and Spencer Clark. During the Depression, the couple supported painters, sculptors, weavers, potters and other artisans by welcoming them to live and work on the grounds of their home.

The Clarks later converted their home into the popular Guild Inn, a destination for artists, royalty and tourists. By the 1960s, Spencer Clark began saving architectural features from notable old buildings – all demolished before protective laws existed.  The couple displayed these facades around the gardens and added outdoor sculptures.

The Clarks sold their property  in 1978 and the site went into decline. By 2011, the National Trust for Canada listed the Guild Inn on Canada’s Top 10 Endangered Heritage Sites. Fortunately, collaborative efforts by government, the local community and the private sector have renovated and expanded the original Guild Inn building. The entire Guild Park is now being revitalized by the City of Toronto and the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority.

Today, visitors to Guild Park can view sculptures by renowned Canadian artists, including E.B. Cox, Sorel Etrog, Emanuel Hahn, Frances Loring and Florence Wyle. People can also enjoy the marble “Greek Theatre”, made from columns of a 1914 bank, and the notable remnants of the Temple Building, once Canada’s tallest structure. Some of the Clark collection of architectural fragments are also on display at the Campbell House Museum, located in downtown Toronto.

Amenities

  • Guided Tour
  • Parking
  • Parkland
  • Washrooms

Fun Facts

  • As part of Guild Park’s #HistoricPlacesDays, enjoy a virtual tour describing the newly-installed hand-carved stones from the ornate Richmond Building, which opened in 1881 in London, Ontario.
  • These stones depict such notable people as Raphael and Rubens, Benjamin Franklin and Queen Victoria. These portraits are 140 years old and for the first time on permanent public display at Guild Park.
  • How these bas-reliefs wound up at Guild Park is fascinating:
  • In 1968, Spencer Clark and his wife, Rosa, owned and operated the popular Guild Inn/Guild of All Arts atop the Scarborough Bluffs, east of Toronto.
  • That year, the Richmond Building was being torn down. Spencer saved 17 of the bas-relief stones from the building’s façade and moved them to his property at the Guild.
  • He intended to add these works to his growing collection of architectural features – arches, columns and capitals – displayed on the grounds of the Guild.
  • A few of these blocks, each weighing about 500 pounds, were put on view, but never permanently mounted. Most were stored out of sight for some 50 years.
  • Fast forward to 2021. The City of Toronto, which now operates the Clarks’ former property as Guild Park & Gardens, has imaginatively installed nine of these façade stones throughout this site.
  • Check out the video for more details!

Location

201 Guildwood Pkwy, Toronto, Scarborough, ON, Canada
Get directions

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