This scenic and historic park, formerly Guildwood Park, is a sculptural sanctuary and has beautiful gardens. It has an interesting history that reflects famous artists, powerful political figures and contributions made to the art community.
For indoor bookings within the banquet hall facility please visit the Guild Inn Estate website.
For outdoor parkland bookings for ceremonies and photography, call the City of Toronto at 416-396-7378.
This park is part of Scarborough Bluffs. The Clark Centre for the Arts is nearby.
The Guild Inn was built in 1914 as a white stucco, arts and crafts style mansion originally surrounded by over 400 acres of gardens and woodlands. The residence was built for Colonel Harold C. Bickford, a decorated war hero. When Rosa Breithaupt Hewetson purchased the property in 1932, shortly before her marriage to Spencer Clark, the socially conscious couple decided to model their new property into the Canadian equivalent of Roycroft in East Aurora, New York, considered to be the centre of the Arts and Craft movement at the time. The site provided a home and a forum for artists and artisans, where their work was created and collected for the enjoyment of many. Many of the artists were contemporaries or students of members of the Group of Seven, and the influence can be seen in the work they produced.
During the Second World War, the Canadian Government requisitioned the property and turned it into a training base for the Women's Royal Naval Service (WRENS). The hotel also served as a military hospital for victims of shellshock, with the craft facilities providing therapeutic rehabilitation for the service personnel undergoing treatment there.
The Clarks returned to the property in 1947. For the next 35 years, the Clarks built a reputation as patrons of the arts and preservationists, amassing a huge art collection and preserving architectural fragments from dozens of demolished buildings. The property and the architectural fragments were sold to the Toronto and Region Conservation Authority in 1978 to be maintained as a public park. Spencer Clark continued to run the hotel until 1983, when a Board of Management was formed to oversee operations. At the time of the City's amalgamation, the Board was disbanded and the City’s Economic Development and Culture Division took over responsibility for the sculpture and architectural fragments, while the Parks, Forestry and Recreation Division began to manage the surrounding parkland. The hotel continued to operate under contract management until it closed in 2002 when it was considered no longer viable without a major capital infusion.
It is the City of Toronto’s vision that through a private/public partnership, the site can be redeveloped and the arts activity can once again flourish.