Friends of 
Guild Park  
& Gardens
 
 
 
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Since July 2012 Friends of Guild Park have offered our insight and recommendations in support of Guild Park Trails Master Plan process, Guild Park Resource Group and ongoing stakeholder relationship development.  Our independent, volunteer-led walking tours and those offered partnership with Heritage Toronto, Jane's Walk and DoorsOpenTO provide over 1,100 visitors a unique historical and cultural perspective of Guild Park each Spring and Summer. Our group has received a special recognition from Mayor John Tory and Heritage Toronto for these walking tours of Guild Park.

In 2018 about 78,000 people were welcomed to park events. That’s 50% more than the previous year and 10 times more than a decade ago! The catalyst for this big jump is the restored and expanded Guild Inn Estate which, since it's opening in mid-2017 for weddings and private events,  has attracted some 68,000 people and an additional 10,000 visitors who attended Guild Park’s popular volunteer-organized events including GVCA’s Guildwood Day BBQ; the annual Guild Alive With Culture arts festival; the summer season of performances at the Greek Theatre; plus park tours and activities (clean-ups, walks and community happenings hosted by Friends of Guild Park.

The past year has seen many major improvements and new features come to Guild Park as a result of the efforts of our elected officials and volunteer.  We extend heartfelt thanks to the City of Toronto’s Parks, Forestry & Recreation (PFR), Ecomomic Development and Arts & Culture, City Councillor Paul Ainslie and Scarborough-Guildwood MP, John McKay.

What to watch for in 2019:

The Clark Centre for the Arts. The City of Toronto’s $5.4 million project is underway. The name commemorates Rosa and Spencer Clark, founders of the Guild of All Arts founders. This centre is the 21st Century addition to their legacy. Construction will transform a long-vacant structure (once known as Building 191) into three levels of public art programs, exhibition areas, plus two working studios for professional and emerging artists. Note that access to the surround park will be restricted until the centre opens, expected by the end of 2020.

  • The Sculptor’s Cabin. After 30 years of being boarded up, the one-room, wooden cabin near the front gardens of Guild Park is being restored as a small-scale activity site and welcome centre for park visitors. The cabin, originally built in 1940, was a studio for sculptors and is decorated with hand-carved figures from Norse legends. Friends of Guild Park in partnership with The City of Toronto and other Guild Park’s volunteer groups will be utilizing this space as a welcoming centre and community meeting space starting in June 2019.

  • Toronto Heritage Plaque. Guild Park’s first official plaque will commemorate the history of the site as the Guild of All Arts, Canada’s only artist’s community operating during the Great Depression of the 1930s. “The Guild” was forerunner of both the old Guild Inn and our community of Guildwood Village.  Our successful, two-year fundraising campaign recently topped its $6,500 goal. The Heritage Toronto plaque will be unveiled on-site later this year. Friends of Guild Park thanks everyone who helped with our project to bring such long-overdue recognition to the site.

  • Arts In the Parks: The sights and sounds of Japanese drummers and live theatre are coming to Guild Park with free, one-night-only performances by the award-winning troupes, Nagate Shachu ans Driftwood Theatre sponsored Arts in the Parks. 

  • Seniors Walks at Guild Park: This new program will include eight easy-to-navigate walks at Guild Park for those 65 years and up. Park People and Manulife created this program to encourage older men and women to get outside and enjoy nature. Friends of Guild Park was selected to host this local program with support from the GVCA, the Probus-Guildwood Club, Scarborough Centre for Healthy Communities and the Scarborough Garden and Horticulture Society.

Future Plans & Action

Guild Park & Gardens is on its way to again become a destination that welcomes the world.  However, overriding all these visitor-related considerations is this: Guild Park MUST continue as an important wildlife habitat and sanctuary. To address these multiple perspectives, the 2014 Guild Park Management Plan set out the long-term direction for Guild Park. That plan became a foundation for the ongoing revitalization of Guild Park’s public areas and two additional plans to address Guild Park & Gardens Trails and Horticulture management.  It also established an important advisory group of park officials and park users who are taking a collaborative approach to address Guild Park’s future.  As a core member of this group Friends of Guild Park continues to advocate and take informed steps so the best practices in these three plans get put into action.

    With this approach, Guild Park will continue as a sustainable and spectacular public site that’s a unique asset to our community. I welcome comments and thoughts from GVCA members about Guild Park’s future.

    If you are interested in becoming more involved with Friends of Guild Park & Gardens , sharing a story or volunteering at a specific event please send us an email at friends@guildpark.ca  We'd love to hear from you!

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