Happy New Year to Friends of Guild Park & Gardens members and supporters
Lots has been happening at Guild Park & Gardens and with many plans underway to revitalize this unique site.
Last year, Guild Park attracted more than 10,000 visitors for 12 arts and community-focused events organized by volunteer and arts-related groups including Friends of Guild Park, Guild Festival Theatre, Guild Renaissance Group, the Guildwood Village Community Association and others.
This year is shaping up to be even better.
As a supporter of Guild Park, check out the event listings (see below) and make your plans to enjoy the activities already lined up for 2015. This really shows Guild Park’s potential to become a popular destination for local residents and people from other parts of the GTA and Ontario.
Of course, Guild Park is also a sanctuary for nature – a unique natural oasis amid Toronto’s ever-growing urban landscape.
How to balance the greenspace and the “people space” at Guild Park is an important and ongoing question as this 88-acre site evolves. This balancing act doesn’t just happen. It requires care, long-term planning, proper resources and ongoing action.
It also requires people like you. The people who support, use and love Guild Park play a critical role. A worldwide trend is emerging at parks across Toronto: When more people get involved in their parks, their parks get better.
The coming months will be pivotal in Guild Park’s future. Best practices in park management show the big benefits that happen when park users are welcomed as part of the decision-making process. Whether you visit Guild Park to enjoy nature, walk your dog, or attend an event, your voice is important.
Friends of Guild Park continues to advocate so those who use Guild Park get to share their ideas about the park’s future. This is now a major challenge because many different plans focus on different aspects of Guild Park. Providing public input on each of these separate, yet overlapping plans is less than ideal.
A better approach is recommended in the new Guild Park & Gardens Management Plan. That City report calls for an integrated, long-term Master Plan for the site. This will consolidate the multiple plans that now exist for Guild Park, according to the site's natural features.
The Management Plan has already mapped out Guild Park based on the environmental sensitivity of the land (see map).
Such a Master Plan sets out – and adds accountability to – all the steps required to protect and revitalize this unique public space. It also encourages the public to be part of this long-term process. You can learn more about the City Management Plan and download the plan on our website at:
This was the approach taken in early 2012 to revitalize Ontario Place. That plan was completed in six months. Its comprehensive and integrated recommendations became the blueprint to the immediate and long-term improvements now under way at that landmark public park.
Friends of Guild Park will continue to update our members and supporters on progress made at Guild Park as well as about the many upcoming activities. For the latest information, be sure to come out on Saturday March 7th for our annual fundraising event (details below). It’s a great opportunity to enjoy an afternoon with fellow Guild Park supporters. I look forward to seeing you there.
John Mason, President of Friends of Guild Park & Gardens
Email John at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Guild Park Fundraiser kicks off 2015 season
Attend our Silent Auction & Reception, Saturday afternoon March 7, 2015
All members and supporters of Friends of Guild Park are invited to a special event to mark the start of this year’s arts and community activities at Guild Park.
Special guest speakers and announcements are scheduled, along with a silent auction, live jazz trio, refreshments and hors d’oeuvres.
Date: Saturday March 7, 2015
Time: 2 pm - 5 pm
Place: Cedar Ridge Community Centre, 225 Confederation Dr. Toronto (south of Lawrence & Scarborough Golf Club Road)
Advance Tickets: Members $15; Guests $20 (memberships will be available at event.
The first event welcomed dozens of supporters, including best-selling author Jane Fairburn (Along The Shore). The funds raised allowed Friends of Guild Park to hold its series of popular Guild Park events in 2014 and pay for the equipment used at the annual Christmas Tree Lighting event.
Be sure to attend and bring your family and friends who also would like to support Guild Park’s future. Tickets on sale soon, stay tuned!
2015 Events at Guild Park & Gardens
Sat. Mar. 7 - Friends of Guild Park Fundraiser. Cedar Ridge Creative Ctr. Reception, special guests, music, door prizes and silent auction.
Sat Mar. 28 - Scarborough Green Fair & Seedy Saturday. Blessed Cardinal Newman High School, 100 Brimley Rd South (south of Kingston Rd). Drop by Friends of Guild Park booth. Also meet other “green” & gardening experts.
Sun. May 3 - Jane's Walk at Guild Park. Community-focused walking tour at Guild Park. Watch for details.
Sat May 9 - Spring Shoreline Clean-Up. Organized along Guild Park’s future waterfront park as part of the cross-Canada program by the WWF, the Vancouver Aquarium & supported by Loblaw.
Sun May 24- Doors Open Toronto. 3rd annual tour at Guild Park. Focus on the architectural features preserved from Toronto’s now demolished buildings.
Sat June 6 - Guildwood Day. All-day neighbourhood festivities organized by the GVCA. Evening BBQ and entertainment at Guild Park.
July 16-Aug 9 - Guild Festival Theatre The 5th summer season of live performances on stage at Guild Park’s Greek Theatre.
Sat July 25 & Sun July 26 - Guild Alive With Culture. The always popular summer arts show featuring local & Ontario crafts and artisans.
Sat Sept 19 - Fall Shoreline Clean-Up. Organized along Guild Park’s future waterfront park as part of the cross-Canada program by the WWF, the Vancouver Aquarium & supported by Loblaw.
Sat Oct 31 - Family Hallowe'en Haunt at Guild Park. Costume contests, games and treats for families with trick-or-treaters aged 12 years and under.
Sat Dec 5 - Christmas Tree Lighting Celebration. Mark the start of the holiday season with lights, carol singing and outdoor fun at Guild Park.
Watch for news about more activities, such as outdoor movie nights, Heritage Toronto tours and other walking tours and talks. Events subject to change and weather permitting. For the latest updates, visit www.GuildPark.ca or Facebook.com/GuildPark.
To Help Guild Park, Call 311
Canadian author and historian Pierre Berton wrote that visiting Guild Park was “like a walk through history.” At Guild Park, people get a close up look of the arches, artwork, columns and other notable parts of buildings saved from demolition.
The park’s formal gardens and the natural forest and bluff areas are unique in Toronto and the world. The thousands of people who come to Guild Park each year enjoy the many surprising features found at the 88-acre park.
One unfortunate surprise for many visitors is that Guild Park continues to lack the kind of facilities usually available at other comparable-sized city parks. Guild Park is without permanent washrooms, has no access to drinking water, and no public noticeboards for visitor information. Benches, signs and lighting are all very limited. The condition of the park’s walking trails varies greatly, some paths continue to be impassible. A temporary washroom with running water is expected to be available at Guild Park on a seasonal basis from May to October.
Here’s an easy way you can help Guild Park’s art and nature. If you’d like to see improvements at Guild Park, phone the City of Toronto’s Hotline at 311 and give your ideas to the duty operator. Your call will help city officials track the public’s calls for enhancing this park.
Public Meeting Scorecard: 2010: 1; 2014: 6
The first public meetings in four years got held in 2014 regarding Guild Park’s future. A total of six public meetings held last year:
- two meeting about the damage to the park’s forest;
- two about how the city parks department is managing the park;
- one about the proposed restaurant/event/community facility; and
- one about the planned waterfront trail along Guild Park’s shoreline.
The most successful sessions encouraged people to ask questions and give informed views about Guild Park’s legacy and potential. One positive outcome was the release of the Guild Park & Gardens Management Plan, which described the site as a “treasured destination park.”
Friends of Guild Park, along with the GVCA and the Guild Renaissance Group, supports ongoing and meaningful public consultation on Guild Park’s future. This will include collaborative talks with all the officials now responsible for Guild Park through their many different government departments and agencies. Together, the three community groups have asked for an update meeting to keep people informed of Guild Park progress. Watch for news about the next public session.
Community ideas continue for Guild Park’s future
Both long-time and first-time visitors to Guild Park continue to give their thoughts about features and facilities to revitalize this historic public space while protecting its fragile natural resources and respecting the arts legacy of the park’s funders, Rosa and Spencer Clark.
Recent suggestions for Guild Park include the return or addition of features/facilities including:
- A licensed restaurant facility for affordable fine dining
- A casual spot for light meals/coffee/snacks
- A special events hall (i.e. banquet area)
- Community space (for public meetings/services)
- Art gallery/working studios for professional artists
- Small “salon” space for indoor performances/ readings/ presentations
- A community library (to replace Guildwood’s existing and overcrowded branch)
- A destination playground, inspired by the community-created Jamie Bell Playground at High Park or the Kew Gardens playground in the Beach
- Exhibition space (like a city museum or eco-classroom)) to display items that show the significance of the site's nature, history, people and art.
- An outdoor skating rink /trail. Scarborough is long-overdue for more outdoor winter rinks. (The only one in this part of the city is at the Scarborough Civic Centre.) An outdoor skating trail at Guild Park would be ideal for residents and visitors to the east end. It can be modelled on the existing trail the City operates at Etobicoke's Colonel Sam Smith Park.
In addition, the public continues to support the long-overdue maintenance of Guild Park's existing features such as:
Three ways to shape Guild Park’s future
- The forest and environmentally sensitive areas
- The park’s “infrastructure” such as washrooms, lighting, signs
- The walking trails, parking areas and driveways
- The outdoor artwork and architectural fragments
If you're reading this newsletter, you have a stake in making Guild Park a place where art and nature are protected and enhanced for today and tomorrow.
Here are three ways you can get directly involved to support this important, yet long-neglected site.
1. Become a member of Friends of Guild Park. Membership in our organization makes you part of the growing “Friends of” movement that is responsible for improving parks all across Toronto. The more members that Friends of Guild Park attracts, the stronger the public voice is when we advocate for better park facilities and improvements.
Annual membership revenue is an important source of funds. Did you know that groups like ours are required to pay park permit fees and liability insurance for EVERY public event at Guild Park attended by more than 25 people? Last year, our cost for permits and insurance at family events such as the August Family Movie Night, averaged about $300 per event. Becoming a member of Friends of Guild Park allows us to organize more events. Information to renew and join is available on our website Membership page.
2. Become active. Every activity at Guild Park depends on volunteers. At each event, volunteers help organize, promote and make the fun happen. This year, we’ll be able to expand our series of park walking tours if we can encourage more volunteers to help, such as by being “shepherds” – people who keep the tours together. Anyone with a personal story about the old Guild would be a valued addition. So would those with an interest in the site today.
This is a great way for people to learn more about this amazing place and enjoy welcoming visitors. For high school students, we offer valuable volunteer hours. To learn more, send us an email at email@example.com.
3. Become a Director. A vacancy currently exists on the nine-member volunteer board of Friends of Guild Park. We are seeking a person with a strong urge to see Guild Park achieve its potential as a revitalized and sustainable public park. Each director brings a collaborative approach and hands-on skills to make Guild Park. For more details about applying, see the following article.
Make A Difference to Guild Park: Apply to become a Volunteer Director
Due to a resignation from its Board of Directors in late 2014, the Friends of Guild Park & Gardens Board is looking to appoint a new Director. The Board’s ideal candidate is a person who brings a high level of energy to the organization and willing to make a long-term (approx. three years) commitment to this volunteer position.
The Board is composed of nine members (including the vacant position), seven elected and two appointed. The available position is an elected director, with one year remaining in the term. The Friends are blessed with an excellent group of dedicated board members who have collaborated together effectively since the organization was launched two years ago. The board meets on the first Wednesday of each month, and board members are active in the planning and execution of various park activities and special events.
Besides the basic qualifications listed below, the board would appreciate hearing from anyone with abilities in event planning, marketing, fund raising and/or strong administrative and organization skills.
Director Qualifications (according to the bylaws of Friends of Guild Park & Gardens):
- must be a minimum 18 years of age;
- must be of sound mind and mental capacity;
- must not have previously been convicted in a court of law of fraud, theft, and/or breach of trust;
- must not be an un-discharged bankrupt.
If you meet these requirements and have a passion for the future of Guild Park & Gardens, please forward your CV with a short letter detailing your interest in becoming a Director of the Board to John Mason at firstname.lastname@example.org. The submission deadline is February 20, 2015.
Fall and Winter 2014 Events
Halloween Haunt Highlights
The 3rd Annual Halloween Haunt was held at at Guild Park on Saturday October 26th. Hundreds took part in costume contests and family-friendly activities.
Scarborough-Guildwood MPP Mitzie Hunter donated a unique top prize to the costume contest winner in the oldest age category - a special visit to Queen's Park. This included a guided tour for the child and their parent, lunch with MPP Hunter and an opportunity to watch the Ontario legislature in session. Other generous donors included Ace's Place Sports Bar, Valu-Mart and Muddy Paws (all at the Guildwood Plaza), McDonald's at Lawrence & Kingston, Mastermind Toys and the Guildwood Business Networking Group. In addition, Joseph Khargie of 4-Life Foundation, provided a steady soundtrack of Hallowe'en hits!
Thanks also to all the volunteers including the local Boy Scouts and Girl Guides,
East Scarborough Boys & Girls Club, the Guild Renaissance Group, the Toronto Public Library Guildwood Branch, and RE/MAX Rouge River Realty Brokerage.
Christmas Tree Lighting
On the evening of December 6th, Guild Park saw more than 300 visitors come to watch the 2nd annual Christmas Tree Lighting.
Carol singing (complete with ukulele accompaniment from the Scarborough Uke Jam), hot drinks and a visit from Ole St. Nick were all part of the festivities.
Thanks to the volunteers and attendees who braved the cold and made this event possible. There are a lot of challenges putting on any event in the Guild Park, but never more so than in the winter and at night-time. On our wishlist for next year's event: better lighting, more electrical outlets, access to running water and perhaps even washrooms!
Join Us as a 2015 Member
Annual memberships for Friends of Guild Park & Gardens are now available via our website at GuildPark.ca!
An easy and secure way to join is by using your credit card or PayPal account after completing our online membership form. All payments use an encrypted process.
For those who prefer traditional methods to sign up or renew your membership, simply respond to this email and you’ll receive a printable form, with full details on how become a 2015 member.
To get in touch with us, please email email@example.com.
Friends of Guild Park, Board of Directors
- John Mason, President
- Janet Heise, Secretary
- Rose Mitchell Spohn, Treasurer
- Jay Moonah
- Ross Sturge
- Miroslav Glavic
- Dave Arnold, representing the Guildwood Village Community Association
- Ralph van Putten, representing the Guild Renaissance Group