Friends of 
Guild Park  
& Gardens

Guild Park & Gardens -- Background

Guild Park and Gardens covers 88 acres of unique forest, shoreline and open parkland located atop the Scarborough Bluffs at 201 Guildwood Pkwy., Toronto. The property is former home of the popular Guild Inn, a private hotel, licenced restaurant and arts/cultural centre owned and operated for more than 50 years by art patrons and entrepreneurs, the late Rosa and Spencer Clark. 

Pillars of the Banker Bond Building
The Guild Inn expanded from a country estate, originally built in 1917. The facility expanded many times to accommodate growing numbers of guests (local residents and out-of-town visitors), special events (from weddings to arts festivals) and corporate activities (such as education classes and professional conferences). 

Guests ranged from Canada’s Prime Minister Lester Pearson and the Netherlands’ Queen Juliana; to musicians Sir Ernest MacMillan and Glenn Gould; to performers Sir Lawrence Olivier and Lorne Greene. 

The property was purchased in 1978 by the Province of Ontario and is managed by the City of Toronto. The hotel and restaurant operations closed in 2001 and in 2009 the hotel portion of the Guild Inn was demolished

The park includes a unique collection of outdoor sculptures and architectural fragments preserved from more than 50 downtown Toronto buildings that were demolished in the 20th Century. The site remains a popular site for wedding and commercial photography, television and video production and outdoor community activities.                               

Pierre Berton

"To walk through the Clark collection [of architecture] at The Guild is somewhat like walking through history. When we see the pillars of the Bankers Bond Building, for instance, we can visualize the magnificent classical structure they supported."

Pierre Berton (1920-2004)
Canadian Author and Broadcaster
Chairman, Heritage Canada Foundation.

The Challenge

Greek TheatreSince Pierre Berton wrote those words more than 30 years ago, time has been unkind to this historic property. The original owners of the Guild Inn were the late Rosa and Spencer Clark. As art patrons, they used the site to launch a legacy of supporting hundreds of Canadian artists and craftspeople.   In doing so, the couple created a popular public destination and a place visited by world leaders, prime ministers and performers including Glenn Gould, Sir Ernest MacMillan and Bob Hope.

Today the property is a shadow of its original operation. But after decades of disrepair, the historic Toronto landmark is set to undergo a transformation, breathing new life into the century-old property once used as an inn and artists’ colony. Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group plans to restore the old Bickford house — a manor built in 1914 that would later become the sprawling Guild Inn complex — and build a new restaurant and a special-event venue catering to weddings and corporate functions, community events and charitable fundraisers.
The volunteers of the Friends of Guild Park & Gardens continue to bring activity to and raise new awareness about this important Canadian landmark. Our walking tours take place several times a month from May to October and our members organize events and advocate year round for the preservation of the natural and artistic legacy of the park. Join us by becoming a member and supporting the ongoing work to revitalize Guild Park.  

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