History month: What’s happening at Guildwood

Guild Inn patiently waits for Toronto to invest in its history as yet another October rolls by

The Guild Inn was built in 1914 and has served as a residential house, artist's colony, and even served as a training base and military hospital for victims of shell shock during WWII.  

The leaves have slowly turned from bright emerald to vibrant gold and ruby red. It’s almost the end of October, almost the end of History Month. Fall comes with many changes, but one thing hasn’t changed in Guildwood: the historic Guild Inn lies forgotten among the rubble that once was fragments of tall, important buildings.

Over the summer, the city hired another consultant to write a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a restaurant and hospitality services at the inn.

The RFP is an invitation to supporters through a bidding process to submit a proposal to redevelop the Guild Inn.

Councillor Paul Ainslie wrote in a community newsletter that the RFP was supposed to be released Sept. 21, 2012, but is late because they are still “ironing out some of the wording.”

After the RFP is released, supporters of the project have six weeks to show interest. Ainslie said their goal is to have someone on board with the project by December.

The inn is not new to an RFP. In 2006, the City of Toronto hired Goldsmith, Borgal and Company Ltd. Architects and Artscape to design and develop a new model for the Guild Inn.

In 2009 there was a ray of hope, as Centennial College partnered with the city to revitalize the inn. The college wanted to develop its Cultural and Heritage Institute and its proposal included a boutique hotel, restaurant and a conference centre.

But 2009 proved to be a year when structures around the inn crumbled to the ground rather than being raised. In the summer, the hotel tower of the Guild Inn was demolished. The hotel was an addition to the Guild Inn and is separate from the original Brickford residence. In the winter of 2008, the guest house burnt down.

“There was a fire on Christmas morning at the Guild Inn!” wrote Tammy Allen on the Guild Inn Facebook page.

“It’s sad too, because it had just had some renovations, the walls, windows, new flood lights and even the roof was done! What a waste of money! Maybe that’s why the city won’t pick up bill to fix the whole place, why bother if vandals are going to destroy it!” Allen wrote.

The Guild is a popular spot for photography, especially wedding photography during the summer months.

“Many people go for walks, dates and have weddings there,” Mel Phan, a Scarborough resident said. “It’s a general hangout spot there as a place to go without having to spend money. It’s beautiful and serene.”

In 2011, Centennial announced it could not go forward with its original revitalization plan for the Guild Inn and proposed instead to build a condominium. Their new proposal was rejected by the city and the college did not appeal the decision.

At the time, Ainslie wrote on his website that the new proposal for a condominium “portrays a deep lack of respect for the Guildwood community, and a misunderstanding of what all interested parties see as the proper utilization of the Guild Park and Gardens.”

“I think having a condo there could either block the lake and sunrise view that some houses have and could potentially drive down house prices,” Phan said. “Guildwood residents are conservationists of the area. We like that it’s still wooden.”

Ainslie then asked the city to release yet another RFP. In July 2012, the city hired another consultant to write another RFP for a restaurant and hotel at the Guild Inn. On Sept. 11, city staff met with consultant Cameron Hawkins and the Guild Park Advisory Committee to discuss the current RFP.

However, the inn is still waiting for its facelift as all around it the trees shed their leaves, which fall to the ground, decaying.

Guild Inn Timeline

About this article

By: Teona Baetu
Copy editor: Jodee Brown
Posted: Oct 26 2012 6:57 pm
Filed under: Features