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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Granite Club entrance++image descriptionBank of Nova Scotia wall & arch++image descriptionBank of Nova Scotia wall & arch - detail++image descriptionBank of Nova Scotia wall & arch - detail++image descriptionImperial Bank of Canada arch++image descriptionImperial Bank of Canada arch - detail++image descriptionBank of Toronto arch++image descriptionBank of Toronto arch++image descriptionBank of Toronto capital++image descriptionBank of Toronto greek theatre++image descriptionBank of Toronto greek theatre++image descriptionBank of Toronto greek theatre - detail++image descriptionImperial Oil Building wall++image descriptionImperial Oil Building wall++image descriptionImperial Oil Building wall++image descriptionImperial Oil Building wall++image descriptionImperial Oil Building wall++image descriptionProduce Exchange Building gate++image descriptionProduce Exchange Building gate++image descriptionGuildwood Park path++image descriptionGuildwood Park top of bluff++image descriptionGuildwood Park top of bluff++image descriptionGuildwood Park path++image descriptionGuildwood Park cliff++image description

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Toronto: Exhibition Place

Exhibition Place is a 1.1 square kilometre (260 acre) mixed-use property on the shores of Lake Ontario at the south end of Toronto.

For the last two weeks of every August, Exhibition Place is the site of the Canadian National Exhibition (from which the site derives its name) — one of the largest and most successful fairs of its kind in North America (with roots going back to 1878 and now attracting an average annual attendance of 1.3 million). It is host every winter to the Royal Agricultural Fair, and in recent years, it also serves as the backfrop for the Toronto Indy race held each July.

Its complex of public spaces, buildings, and monuments are open and active year-round. Several heritage buildings (many of the Beaux-Arts style) sit alongside new modern facilities, making for an interesting juxtaposition when exploring the site.

Some of the currently standing edifices include: BMO Field, Direct Energy Centre (formerly, the National Trade Centre — still Canada’s largest indoor exhibition hall regardless of its name change), the Automotive Building, the Better Living Centre, the Food Building, the Arts Crafts and Hobbies Building (now known as the Medieval Times Building), the Liberty Grand, the Horticulture Building, the Queen Elizabeth Building, the Horse Palace, the Music Building, the Coliseum (now part of the Ricoh Coliseum), and the Dufferin and Princes’ Gates.

 

For $10M I’ll call it “Frank” if it makes you happy.

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BMO Field++image descriptionDirect Energy Centre++image descriptionLiberty Grand++image descriptionMusic Building++image descriptionHorticultural Building++image descriptionHorse Palace++image descriptionHorse Palace - interior 01++image descriptionHorse Palace - interior 02++image description

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