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Fall Update from Friends of the Guild Park & Gardens


All the best of the fall season from the board of the Friends of Guild Park & Gardens! In an effort to improve our communications for our second year, we are committing to update members and supporters like you with an email newsletter at least once a quarter. There's so much happening at the park right now, and we want to make sure you are kept in the know.

2014 Annual General Meeting Update

The Friends 2014 AGM was held on Monday September 22, 2014 at Guildwood Community Presbyterian Church. During the meeting, board president John Mason, vice-president Tracey Goddard and the rest of the board updated the membership on the plans and activities underway at Guild Park.

John announced that an application has been submitted to the Ontario Heritage Foundation (OHT) to consider erecting one of the province's historical plaques at the 88-acre public park. The plaque would commemorate the Guild of All Arts, the only artists' colony In Canada that operated during the Great Depression. The decision about the Guild Park application will be made by the OHT's independent board of directors and announced early next year. If successful, the next step will be raising an estimated $6,500 toward the cost of the plaque.

Elections for three board positions were held, the result of which returned Rose Mitchell Spohn, Ross Sturge and Miroslav Glavic to their respective positions as board members. We congratulate Rose, Ross and Miroslav, and on behalf of all the member thank them for their ongoing service to our park and our community.

If you were not able to attend the meeting, you can still review the package handed out by downloading it from our website at:

Join Us! Membership Renewals and Sign-ups

Annual memberships for Friends of the Guild Park & Gardens are now available via our website!

If you are a Charter Member or signed-up for membership during the last year, you can now renew your membership online using a credit card or PayPal account. Simply create your website password via this link:

You will then be able to go to the membership form and  select from one of three membership levels:

  1. General member - $20 per year
  2. Student member (for students aged 18 and under) - $10 per year
  3. Senior member (for those aged 65 and over) - $10 per year
If you have not been a member in the past, you may sign up on the website by using the membership form.

If you would prefer not to use our website but would still like to sign up or renew your membership, please respond to this email and we will provide a printable form and details on how you can do this.

Vandalism at Guild Park

The popular Guild Park sculpture, Musidora, was knocked over and damaged in early October. The vandalism was discovered by a Guildwood resident who posted this photo and reported the incident on the Friends of Guild Park Facebook site on October 4.

Damaged Musidora

The response by the City of Toronto, which manages Guild Park, was quick. The City's Public Art Officer, Clara Hargittay, took the lead and the marble statue was returned to its place.

That’s the good news. The bad news is parts of the statue suffered chips when it landed on rocks below the pedestal.

As more people visit Guild Park and appreciate the value of the art and architecture on-site, it's important to protect these unique public assets from both vandalism and natural weathering.

As custodians of this public art on display, much more can be done to secure the artwork and protect the stone and marble which become brittle over time.

Who is Musidora?

The damage to this marble sculpture in Guild Park led to an investigation about this enigmatic figure. Musidora was a character created by Scot poet James Thomson in his four-part epic titled Seasons. The story of Musidora was contained in the Summer volume and was first published in London, England in 1727. The full compilation of Seasons was published in 1730, when the poet was 30. It became a staple of libraries and school curriculums in both England and North America. Thomson died at 48 and his poems remained popular for about 150 years. His most endearing work was writing the lyrics to Rule Britannia, the patriotic anthem about how that country “rules the waves” because “Britons never, never, never will be slaves.”

Back to Musidora. Thomson based his character on the ancient Greek myth by Ovid about a young nymph who, while bathing in a stream, was secretly watched by her suitor. In Thomson’s poem, Musidora was among the many characters who became popular with both the reading public and artists throughout the 18th and 19th centuries.  Many images of Musidora exist, all variations that depict a youthful, modest and nude figure. One notable version was a painting done around 1780 by the renowned English artist Thomas Gainsborough.

At Guild Park, the marble sculpture of Musidora includes the name of its creator, and date of completion, on the pedestal.  Marshall Wood was a famous English sculptor who travelled the world to display and sell his works in marble and castings in bronze. Some of his major commissions were of British royalty, most notably Queen Victoria. Today, Wood’s work is on view across Canada and worldwide.

In Ottawa, Wood’s white marble stature of the young Queen Victoria (1871) graces the centre of the Parliamentary Library. Another one of Wood’s Queen Victoria’s figure, this one cast in bronze, has graced Montreal’ Victoria Square since 1872. In Australia, Parliament House in Melbourne displays his Queen Victoria and the National Gallery of Victoria houses a slightly different version that Wood did of Musidora.

Wood came to Toronto as part of his North American tour in 1871. He left behind a bronze statue of Queen Victoria that the City temporarily erected at Queen’s Park. However, city politicians later voted against paying $3,000 for the work. Wood’s royal creation left Toronto in 1874 and likely ended up in Quebec City. The sculptor died at 46, after returning to England from a trip to Australia

It would be interesting to know the path that led Wood’s Musidora to Guild Park. Most likely, it was acquired by Rosa and Spencer Clark and displayed on their property before they began salvaging architectural fragments from demolished buildings downtown.

Unfortunately, recent years have been unkind to the marble Musidora at Guild Park. Photos from less than 10 years ago, show the statue was intact. At that time the figure was holding a lyre. The stringed instrument and both hands of the sculpture have broken off.

Anyone with stories, memories and/or old photos showing Musidora at Guild Park, please contact Friends of Guild Park so we can gain a fuller idea of how this graceful nymph with classical beginnings came to be part of Guild Park.

Musidora's pedestal includes the sculptor's name Marshall Wood and the date 1875.

The view of the sculpture's back shows the fresh chips in the marble.

A close-up of the damaged marble compared to the size of a loonie coin.

The 139-year-old marble sculpture, Musidora, has suffered repeated damage at Guild Park.

September Shoreline Clean-up a Huge Success

The latest Shoreline Clean-up at Guild Park was held Saturday Sept. 20, 2014. It was the biggest clean-up ever for the site! Almost 65.5 kg of garbage and recyclables was removed from 2 km of shoreline, roadway and forest path, with more than 30 volunteers participating. The event was organized by Friends of Guild Park treasurer Rose Mitchell Spohn.

Special thanks to the Green Team - the high school students and teachers from neighbouring Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate as well as Guildwood Valu-Mart, which donated fruit and water for the participants.

The next Guild Park cleanup will take place next spring. Watch for details!

September 2014 Clean-up crew

Summer Movie Night at Guild Park: A Great Evening of Family Fun

On August 22, more than 250 people of all ages enjoy a very special summer evening at Guild Park. The first ever movie night at the park featured Disney's "Frozen" on the Greek Theatre stage. 

Special thanks to the City of Toronto Parks Forestry & Recreation Department and especially the Toronto Civic Employees' Union, Local 416 and its special events team for bringing their inflatable screen, not to mention the popcorn and snow cones!

Movie Night at Guild Park

Guild Park Walking Tours Continue to Draw Crowds in 2014

This summer we once again presented our Walking Tours of The Guild Park. We hosted just over 400 visitors on the various tours this summer. The biggest events where Doors Open Toronto, the Heritage Toronto walk in July, and the Cultural Hotspot tour in September.

Since starting these tours in July 2012, almost 2,500 people have come to Guild Park and learned about the nature, art and people connected with this site. About half of the tour visitors live outside the Guildwood/Scarborough area and for many, the tours mark their first ever visit to Guild Park.

Guild Park walking tour group

Upcoming Guild Park Events

*         Sunday October 26th  

The 3rd Annual Family-Friendly Halloween Event at Guild Park. 11 am – 3 pm. Costume contests, activities and fun for kids 13 and under and their families. This year, in case of bad weather arrangements are being made to have the nearby Boys & Girls Club as alternative inside location.

*        Saturday December 6th (evening)

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Guild Park. Plans are being made for a Victorian-style holiday event, complete with carolers, music and seasonal cheer for the whole family.  

To stay up-to-date with all the latest Guild Park news, please join our Facebook page at or check out or website at

To get in touch with us, please email

Friends of Guild Park, Board of Directors

  • John Mason, President
  • Tracey Goddard, Vice 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


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