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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Mississauga: Kariya Park

Unknown to probably 99.9% of their residents, the City of Mississauga and the City of Kariya in Japan (a small city of 132,000, 15km southwest of Nagoya) have enjoyed a sister-city relationship since 1981. Kariya Park was opened in 1992 to celebrate the 11th anniversary of that pairing.

Not far from Mississauga city hall, the park seems a world away from the hustle and bustle just beyond its walls and on the other side of its pine, gingko, and sweetgum trees.

The symbols of the City of Kariya can be found throughout the park, most notably on the large friendship bell in the centerpiece structure of the park.

There’s a zen garden, fish pond, bridges, and gently rolling hills to take in at your leisure.

Unsurprisingly, the park is a popular location for photo-shoots and wedding photos for those who know of its existence.

Mississauga isn’t the first place I’d associate with torii and temple bells.

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