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Friends of Guild Park & Gardens

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.

Guild Park has seen many major improvements and new features as a result of the efforts of our elected officials and volunteer groups.  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.

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 was 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 uses this space as a welcoming centre and community meeting space.

  • Toronto Heritage Plaque. Guild Park’s first official plaque commemorates 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.  After a successful, two-year fundraising campaign The Heritage Toronto plaque was unveiled on-site in 2020. 

  • 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 included 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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