Toronto's historic Guild Inn has reopened in its rarefied setting in a forest clearing, perched high above Lake Ontario along the Scarborough Bluffs. The Inn, a former 1914-built mansion turned artists colony turned popular hotel, was bustling in the 1960s and 70s but decline to decline partway through the 80s, closing in 2001. A couple of attempts to revive the site failed in the early 2000s, but in 2013 the City approved a plan by the Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group to revive The Guild Inn Estate with a new restaurant and banquet/event centre. This week, on June 14, dignitaries turned out to celebrate the estate's new life.
On hand for the event was Toronto Mayor John Tory, seen speaking at the ceremony above. To his left, your right, are Sam D'Uva, co-managing director, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group, Councillor Paul Ainslie, City of Toronto Ward 43 where the Inn is located, Councillor Gary Crawford, City of Toronto Ward 46, and Piero Suppa, co-managing director, Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group.
After cutting a ribbon, the group toured the facilities, both the renewed spaces within the original "Bickford House" and the newly built east and west wings. In the house itself the Bickford Bistro is set to open in a week's time. It will seat up to 60 people for lunch or dinner. Upstairs there are no longer hotel homes, but there are four Bridal Suites ready for wedding parties to prepare for events in the venue. To the east, a sheltered outdoor space is ready for any party looking to take advantage of warm weather for their functions, while the new west wing boasts a ballroom capable of seating up to 1,000 for a dinner, or be divided into two or more smaller rooms.
The west wing ballroom also makes the best of good weather with a patio terrace running its length, and overlooking the forest-like setting of Guild Park.
The Park has continued to be open throughout the restoration and rebuilding of the Inn, and offers a setting that is unique in southern Ontario. Set in a forest clearing above the Scarborough Bluffs, the park has extensive gardens amongst which are strewn architectural remnants of many demolished Toronto buildings, whether statues or stone columns or pedestals.
The park came about in the years when Spencer and and Rosa Clark owned the property and ran it, initially as an artists colony, and eventually as a hotel, with as many as 100 rooms at one point. Spencer Clark spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to preserve pieces of major Toronto buildings which were being lost to the march of progress, and reassembled them about the grounds. The park now has the feel of a sculpture garden or an ancient ruined city. Of particular note is what's called the Greek Stage, seen below, which was formerly part of the 1913-built Bank of Toronto Building, which came down when the Toronto Dominion Bank Centre was built in the 1960s.
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