I had read about this place in a book on Toronto a few years ago, but it seemed almost too fantastical to be true.
Then, a couple weeks ago, I saw a write-up about it in the NOW magazine. I became convinced that, first, this was an actual place that you can visit, and second, that I must go there as soon as possible.
This sign greets you on your way in, but this park is nowhere near King West. It is in Scarborough, at 201 Guildwood Parkway.
This location was formerly the site of a stately home called “Guildwood” owned by Rosa and Spencer Clark. They bought it in 1932 and made it the home of an arts and crafts collective. In the 1950s, they began collecting “fragments of Toronto buildings demolished during a modernist building boom, when there was little concern for heritage architecture.
Sixty years later, what is now Guild Park is a graveyard of Toronto’s architectural past.”
Imperial Bank of Canada, 1928 – 1972, 802 Yonge Street.
“Most impressive are the remains of the Bank of Toronto designed by Carrere and Hastings of New York….
…modelled on the Paris Bourse and completed at King and Bay in 1913.
In 1967 it was demolished to make way for the black towers of Mies van der Rohe’s TD Centre.
At Guild Park the remains of the Bank of Toronto’s Corinthian columns and arches, with heads of Hercules in the skin of a lion, are reassembled into a Temple of Heaven that provides a stage for weddings and Shakespeare performances.
Death with dignity, rebirth or reincarnation?”
Among the facades, the park’s impressive gardens grow…
…and other beauties flourish on a much smaller scale.
You can see a portion of the Scarborough Bluffs and Lake Ontario at the edge of the park.
Guild Park was an unexpected gem that I will be sure to visit again!
Quotes and information about Guild Park is from the article “Graveyard of Lost Facades” by Richard Longley. https://nowtoronto.com/news/the-good-the-bad-and-the-ugly/