CrashBoomBang

the travels & travails of an escaped lab rat

Toronto: Guildwood Park

Guildwood Park, located up above the Scarborough Bluffs is, hands-down, one of my favourite parks in Toronto.

Originally the site of the Guild Inn, the park (and the 35.6 hectares — 88 acres — around it) was acquired by Rosa Hewetson shortly before her marriage to Spencer Clark in 1932. The Canadian government ended up requisitioning the property for use as a hospital during the Second World War.

The Clarks returned to the property in 1947, and over the next 35 years, started amassing a huge art collection as well as preserving architectural fragments from dozens of heritage buildings in Toronto that would’ve otherwise been destroyed. It is interesting to note that prior to 1981, no one thought it worth the effort to protect or preserve Toronto’s architectural heritage, and historical buildings were regularly demolished and lost to the march of progress.

The park and collection of architectural fragments were eventually sold to the Province of Ontario, to be maintained as a public park; Spencer Clark continued to run the property until 1983, when a Board of Management was finally formed to oversee operations. In 1996, Toronto Culture assumed responsibility of the sculpture and architectural fragments, while Parks and Recreation continues to oversee the Guild Inn and the surrounding parkland.

Not only is the park a beautiful and quiet location for taking pictures or a contemplative stroll, it’s a fascinating look back at some of the architectural history of Toronto that would have been lost to posterity if not for the Clarks.

The angel panels from the North American Life Assurance Company building made into a sundial.

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Posted in Places by madsci on June 4th, 2010 at 6:20 pm.

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