Guild Park and Gardens
201 Guildwood Parkway (Scarborough Bluffs)
Original owners built home there in 1914, sold to the city in 1978, re-opened in 2017; part of 88 acres of parkland
Known for: Nature meets art and culture
Gardens, trails amid a collection of vintage architecture and sculpture Guild Park, its gardens, buildings and sculptures, is a place shrouded in history and legend. Over the years, it has attracted local and international visitors because of its spectacular location and its connection to the arts. Known once as the Guild of All Arts, it has been a sanctuary and academy for artisans and artists for decades.
Guildwood Park was once home to Rosa Breithaupt Hewetson and Spencer Clark. The original house (which became the Guild Inn) was built in 1914 as a white stucco, arts and crafts style mansion originally surrounded by over 400 acres of gardens and woodlands.
Rosa and Spencer were patrons of arts and preservationists. Over the years, they amassed a huge collection of art and preserved architectural fragments from demolished buildings. They also provided lodgings on the site for artists and artisans, where work could be created and collected for the enjoyment of many. Many of the artists were contemporaries or students of members of the Group of Seven.
The property was sold to the City in 1978 so it could be a public park, however, Spencer operated the Inn until the early eighties. The hotel then sat empty for almost two decades.
Restored and renovated through a private/public partnership a few years ago, the Guild reopened in 2017 as an event venue for corporate and social events, and a public restaurant.
Enjoy a quiet time in the garden interspersed with representative architectural pieces from downtown Toronto�s buildings of late 19th/early 20th century. One of the most delightful spots is an outdoor Greek style theatre, created from archways and 8 pillars of the 1913 Bank of Toronto. The new Bickford Bistro provides a spectacular panoramic view of the park and gardens.
During the Second World War, the Canadian Government turned the property into a training base for the Women's Royal Naval Service. The hotel also served as a military hospital for victims of shellshock, with the craft facilities providing therapeutic rehabilitation for the service personnel undergoing treatment there.
There have always been stories of lights flickering and moans and groans of recovering Second World War soldiers echoing in the halls at the inn. One of the most well-known involves a ghost called Henry, said to haunt the top floor of the original inn.
Now in its 7th season, the Guild Festival Theatre is proud to participate in the movement to re-establish a Guild of All Arts. Each summer, an outdoor production is performed in the Greek Theatre in the sculpture garden.