Friends of Guild Park is the winner of Heritage Toronto's 2019 Members' Choice Award which recognizes the volunteer group's ongoing work to "preserve and interpret Toronto's heritage."
The award came at the 45th Annual Heritage Toronto Awards Ceremony held on Oct. 28, 2019.
Friends of Guild Park was also singled out by the Heritage Toronto jury winning an Honourable Mention in the Community Heritage Award category.
Friends of Guild Park President John Mason said these awards are important for two reasons.
"They show that significant heritage sites and stories are found all across our city. Also, the awards show that volunteers play a major role in keeping these stories and places alive."
This year, Heritage Toronto evaluated 40 nominations in four categories. The charitable organization presents awards each year to showcase the valuable role heritage plays in community and city building.
Guild Park had a strong presence at last night's ceremony and was associated with two other nominations.
The Lost & Found exhibition at the Campbell House Museum was nominated in the Public History category.
This interpretive display includes architectural remnants preserved for decades at Guild Park. The fragments, salvaged from Toronto buildings demolished in the 1960s and '70s, are now back on public view near their original locations.
The restoration of Stanley Barracks Gates, built in 1957 near Guild Park, was nominated in the William Greer Built Heritage Award category.
This gateway, located at Guildwood Parkway and Kingston Road, marks the entrance to the old Guild Inn and the then-new Guildwood Village. The gates were originally part of Fort York in the 1800s. The City of Toronto last year hired a team of professionals to restore the stone, metal and lanterns. (Facebook/guildpark)
From Facebook post June 27 2019 by John Mason
Another sculpture from the collection of Rosa & Spencer Clark, founders of the Guild Of All Arts and Guild Inn, is back on display at Guild Park.
The abstract figure, Ravenna, by the late Canadian sculptor, Sorel Etrog, now graces the front (north) garden in front of the restored original Guild Inn building.
The photos below show Ravenna now in place (image supplied by City of Toronto) and Etrog in 1986, holding a prototype of the Genie Canadian film award, perhaps his best known work (Toronto Star photo).
Etrog was a friend of the Clarks, who collected more than a dozen of his works. Ravenna is positioned near another Etrog sculpture, the black hinge-like metal triangle entitled, Space Plough.
For more information about Etrog's connection with Guild Park, join us for the Sunday Stroll this Sunday (June 30). The walking tour begins at 2 pm from the park's Sculptor's Cabin.
Ravenna, named for a city in northern Italy, is the second sculpture in the past two months that has been restored and remounted in their original positions at Guild Park. In May, St. Francis & the Wolf by Thomas Bowie, an artist-in-residence in the 1950s, was returned to public view.
Thanks to the City of Toronto's Economic Development and Culture's Public Arts section for caring and restoring these original art pieces. It's another step in the ongoing revitalization of Guild Park, a place where art meets nature.
Since July 2012 Friends of Guild Park have hosted a series of volunteer-led walking tours at Guild Park attracting more than 1,100 visitors yearly. Our independent walking tours and those offered partnership with Heritage Toronto, Jane's Walk and DoorsOpenTO provide visitors with a unique historical, a cultural perspective of Guild Park each Spring and Summer. In 2016 our group received a special award of recognition from Mayor John Tory Mayor for the walking tours of Guild Park.
Our group initiated several annual Holiday events including the Spring Party for Guild Park, The Halloween Haunt and The Annual Christmas Tree Lighting and we also actively participate in Guild Alive With Culture Festival each summer. in 2015 we were proud to have Guild Park selected as one of 141 national Dutch Canadian Friendship Tulip Garden and planted 700 red and White Tulips to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the first gift of 100,000 Dutch tulips bulbs sent in 1945 to Canadians. In 2017 we continued the tradition of the bulb planting event with community members and look forward to seeing yellow Daffodils and blue Muscari celebrating the colours of the former City of Scarborough next Spring.
The Friends of Guild Park & Gardens have developed a strong partnership with Heritage Toronto receiving the Heritage Toronto Media Award, 2012 and Community Heritage Award, 2013. This year we were thrilled to hear our walking tours have been rated the second most popular in Toronto for 2016 and 2017. Our group continues to work closely with Heritage Toronto as we fundraise for the Guild of All Arts commemorative plaque which will be the first official recognition of the historical and cultural importance of Guild Park.
Our group has earned media coverage from CTV, Toronto Star, Global News, Scarborough Mirror, Snap'dScarborough. In partnership with other Guild Park Stakeholder Groups including the Guildwood Village Community Association, Guild Festival Theatre and the Guild Renaissance Group we advocate on behalf of and promote the legacy of the Guild Of All Arts, Rosa and Spencer Clark and the natural beauty of Guild Park and Gardens.
In May 2016 our groups worked together to create The Future Arts Programs and Facilities at Guild Park Report. This report was shared widely with community members and the City of Toronto's Arts Services in support of returning arts programming to Guild Park. Our research and ideas figured prominently in the community engagement process and proposed plans for the Clark Centre for the Arts.
Our group continues to offer our insight and recommendations in support of Guild Park Trails Master Plan process, Guild Park Resource Group and ongoing stakeholder relationship development. 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 firstname.lastname@example.org We'd love to hear from you!
During the spring of 2018, Friends of Guild Park has received numerous comments spring from park visitors about the state of the forest, woodlands and trees at Guild Park. Specifically, about the number of fallen trees throughout the site is a source of public concern.
Friends of Guild Park recently asked Guild Park officials for an update about current forest conditions in the park and specific questions about what is being done.
Below is a file with the information and responses received on May 17, 2018 from members of the City of Toronto’s urban forestry division. This is the group responsible for forest areas across the city, including those at Guild Park.
Guild Park Forest-QandA-May17-2018.pdf
For about two hours, Bob Kortright of the Toronto Field Naturalists showed examples of Guild Park's biodiversity - from butterflies to a butternut tree, mushrooms to mulberries, Cooper Hawks to cornflowers. The photos from today show participants listening Bob describe the life cycles of various types of vegetation and wildlife. On the bright and sunny autumn afternoon, he took folks along some little-used public trails atop the bluffs, into Guild Park's Carolinian Forest and through the formal gardens of the 36-hectare public park. Everyone gained a new appreciation for Guild Park's amazing environmental features people who came were greeted by a 4-point buck ambling along the park's Waterfront trail. When the deer turned around to return down the hill, he showed a wound on his haunch. Not sure if it was the result of an attack or a wound. The animal didn't appear limping so it's hoped the injury won't be serious. The rest of the tour was full of identifying fungi, trees and birds.
Thanks the tour leader Bob Kortright of TFN for arranging the memorable tour and to the 2 dozen folks who braved the zero degree weather to enjoy Guild Park.
Another follow-up to the Native Plant Give-Away that Friends of Guild Park hosted in August, was a Native Plant Workshop for everyone interested in learning about native plants and how to incorporate them into your garden. The event was free and hosted by Park People and Carolinian Canada.
The workshop was led by native plant specialist, Ben Porchuk of Carolinian Canada. Ben has over two decades of experience in ecological systems recovery and is a strong advocate for restoring urban ecology to create greater resiliency. All workshop attendees were invited to stay for the North American Native Plant Society's Annual General Meeting. The AGM keynote speaker was Dr. Jon Johnson of First Story Toronto. First Story is a program at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto devoted to researching and sharing Toronto’s Indigenous heritage through popular educational initiatives. As a part of this work, Jon leads tours about the Indigenous heritage in the GTA. Earlier this year, one of Jon's special tours with Park People included a visit to Guild Park.
The City of Toronto's Arts Services division of Economic Development & Culture provides the latest details about the work now underway to re-open a unique arts facility, along with arts programming, at Guild Park.
The website includes updates on the architect, Taylor Hazell Architects, selected to create the multi-use design for the building. This online resource also includes the history and describes many of the architectural features now on view at Guild Park's Monument Walk.
Here's the link to the new website: toronto.ca/artsfacilityguildpark
On January 5th, 2017 John Mason, President of Friends of Guild Park and Gardens presented a deputation at City hall and letter from the Guild Park Stakeholder group in support of a Trail Master Plan for Guild Park. On January 27th it was confirmed Guild Park and Gardens Trails Master Plan capital project will be included in the City of Toronto 2017 Parks, Forestry and Recreation Capital Budget and Plan.
Key design considerations for trails at Guild Park identified in Trails Master Plan Report compiled by Friends of Guild Park and Gardens:
Recognizing the range of interests/abilities of park visitors – international tourists, first-time
Consider four distinct trails/pathways areas:
Common elements for each trail – with consistent design/signs/markers
In response to the situation highlighted in this BlogTO post FGPG reached out to the Free the Greek Gods to suggest Toronto's Guild Park as a potential new public home for E.B. Cox's important Greek Gods sculptures. As John Mason outlined "There's already a strong connection between E.B. Cox and Guild Park. In 1979, Cox and fellow Canadian sculptor, Michael Clay, together created the Bear figure at Guild Park (see photo). The brown bear's sculpted features show the distinctive markings from E.B. Cox's air chisel. The Bear is a favourite among Guild Park visitors, especially children. Another connection is that Guild Park is home to four sculpted figures by Canadian sculptors Frances Loring and Florence Wyle, who were influential on E.B. Cox's career." Guild Park has ample public space to display all of the Greek gods. The new Monument Walk at Guild Park would be a wonderful location for these important works. This public walk was created last year. It leads from one of the park's pedestrian entrances, through a forest and garden setting, to the top of the Scarborough Bluffs. The Greek gods would also complement Guild Park's "Greek" Theatre.. This structure was designed by Canadian architect Ronald Thom using marble Corinthian columns and arches salvaged from the 1912 Bank of Toronto Building. The Guild Renaissance Group and Friends of Guild Park are award-winning volunteer organizations active in bringing more awareness and activity to Guild Park. I'm a member of both groups and would welcome the opportunity to contact the people who've already been leading the initiative to "Free the Greek Gods." You can get more info atwww.Facebook.com/GuildPark
However, the group is hoping to see E.B. Cox's sculpture collection relocated to the Rose Garden, which is just south of the Bandshell at Exhibition Place.
John Mason highlights a link between the 1912 ceiling mural rediscovered at Queen's Park and Guild Park.
"The newly-found paintings of 104 maple leaves above the Ontario Legislature was the work of Gustav Hahn, the older brother of Canadian sculptor Emanuel Hahn.
Emanuel Hahn's two sculptural designs that once graced the Bank of Montreal's downtown Toronto headquarters are among the pieces of public art now at Guild Park. He designed the panels for the Arctic and Northwest Territories displayed near Guild Park's formal gardens.
The younger Hahn also created the design for the Bluenose schooner on the Canadian dime and the caribou head on our quarter.
Both Hahn brothers went on to teach at what was then the Ontario College of Art. It was there that Emanuel taught Elizabeth Wyn Wood, the sculpture student whom he married in 1926.
Elizabeth Wyn Wood went on to become an exceptional sculptor, whose works are displayed at the Art Gallery of Ontario, the National Gallery in Ottawa, and also at Guild Park (the "provincial panels" depicting Manitoba and Saskatchewan)."
The Toronto Star article by Robert Benzie about Gustav Hahn.
In response to your requests, an online copy of the Guild Park Stakeholders Arts Report to the City of Toronto is now available at http://guildpark.ca/page-1862575
The information and ideas are meant to start the discussion about the type of arts programs and arts facilities that are appropriate for Guild Park - its legacy as the Guild of All Arts and the environmental and physical constraints within its 88 acres.
This report has already been provided to the City's officials involved with Guild Park. We thank everyone who's already provided input and look forward to more ideas and comments about returning the arts to Guild Park.
For those who'd like to provide their input directly to the City of Toronto's Arts Services team, you can give your comments through the City's online community survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Guildartsprogramming