Questions about The Bickford House Terrace, Guild Inn

On Friday April 29, Friends of Guild Park and Guildwood Village Community Association provided an extensive community update regarding the Guild Inn and the many, many questions and concerns brought forward by the community and Guild Park visitors. The accompanying update report is included at the bottom of this post.

Although there are many concerns, in this post, we will focus on the Bickford House Terrace which is protected under provision of the Ontario Heritage Act:

  • Heritage Protected Bickford House Terrace
  • Heritage Protected Views to-and-from the Bickford House Terrace
  • Subleased vs Public Space

Heritage Protected Terrace

The Bickford House Terrace as well as Views to-and-from the Terrace are identified as Heritage Attributes in City of Toronto By-law No. 1162-2015 and protected under provision of the Ontario Heritage Act. As such, Heritage Attributes cannot be removed or altered without a rigorous review and approval.

  • BY-LAW No. 1162-2015
    • Page 5: “the terrace with steps leading to the south gardens”
    • Page 9: “The views to and from the south terrace of the Bickford House and the south entrance to the property at the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs, along and adjoining the north/south path”
    • Page 9: “The views to and from the south terrace of the Bickford House, southwest and southeast between the house and the sculpture collections, including the Circle of Columns, which are set in landscaped open space with trees’

In 2015-2017, the Bickford House was restored to its former glory but Guild Park visitors recently have noticed two major changes to the Bickford House Terrace:

  1. Landscaping and hardscaping of the heritage protected terrace has been dramatically altered. Landscaped slopes on either sides of steps have been removed and levelled, flower beds removed, areas paved over and new sidewalls have been installed.
  2. A giant tent (which appears to be semi-permanent) has been erected over the Terrace, effectively blocking the Bickford House and obstructing the heritage protected View to-and-from the terrace.

These are major changes and concerns. We are not aware of any public consultation. Was the rigorous Heritage review and approval process followed?

BEFORE ALTERATIONS:

BEFORE: Bickford House Terrace, Guild Inn, August 2018
Photo by Christopher Luk www.chrisluk.com • IG @chrislukphoto • FB fb.com/ChristopherLukPhotography
Used with permission

NOW

NOW: April 30, 2022
Heritage Protected Terrace has been altered. Landscaped slopes on either sides of steps have been removed and levelled, flower beds removed, areas paved over and new sidewalls have been installed.
NOW: April 30, 2022 Where’s the Bickford House?
Heritage Protected View to-and-from the Terrace is obstructed.

BEFORE ALTERATIONS:

BEFORE: Bickford House Terrace, Guild Inn, August 2018
Photo by Christopher Luk www.chrisluk.com • IG @chrislukphoto • FB fb.com/ChristopherLukPhotography
Used with permission

NOW:

NOW: April 30, 2022
Heritage Protected Terrace has been altered. Landscaped slopes on either sides of steps have been removed and levelled, flower beds removed, areas paved over and new sidewalls have been installed.
Heritage Protected Terrace has been altered. Landscaped slopes on either sides of steps have been removed and levelled, flower beds removed, areas paved over and new sidewalls have been installed. Notice the lighter colour paving stones where the landscaped slope and flower beds used to be.
Heritage Protected Terrace has been altered. Landscaped slopes on either sides of steps have been removed and levelled, flower beds removed, areas paved over and new sidewalls have been installed. Notice the lighter colour paving stones where the landscaped slope and flower beds used to be.

The Heritage Protected Terrace from then to now.

Landscaping and flowerbeds in the past
Landscaping and flowerbeds in the past
Landscaping and flowerbeds during renovation
Landscaping and flowerbeds after renovations
NOW – Landscaping and flowerbeds have been removed and levelled
Collage Photos on Left by Christopher Luk www.chrisluk.com • IG @chrislukphoto • FB fb.com/ChristopherLukPhotography
Used with permission

Subleased Space vs. Public Space

The installation of the large tent – along with Private Property signs now affixed on the Bickford House building – leads to another major question and concern of whether the tent is installed on Subleased Space or Public Space.

According to City of Toronto By-Laws 967-2014 and 78-2015, the Subleased Area includes the Patio attached to the Bickford House. This Patio extends approximately 8-9 ft from the wall as shown in this photo.

However, By-Laws 967-2014 and 78-2015 do not include the walking path – the public portion of the Terrace – where the tent is installed.

  • BY-LAW No. 78-2015
    • Amendment to 967-2014 Amended Eligible Premises (Museums and Community Centre)
    • https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/bylaws/2015/law0078.pdf
    • Premise Drawings on Pages 4, 5 and 6
    • (a) Basement:
    • 1,408 square feet of space used as Washrooms;
    • 6,065 square feet of space used as Museum and Storage
    • (b) 1st Floor:
    • 22,367 square feet of space used as a Banquet Hall and Community Centre;
    • 4,185 square feet used as a Gazebo;
    • 812 square feet used as the West Museum and Display Area;
    • 812 square feet used as the East Museum and Display Area;
    • 628 square feet used as the Foyer Museum Display Area; and
    • 860 square feet used as a Meeting Room
    • (c) 2nd Floor:
    • 2,086 square feet used as a Meeting Room
  • BY-LAW No. 967-2014
    • Authorization to enter Municipal Capital Facility Agreement
    • https://www.toronto.ca/legdocs/bylaws/2014/law0967.pdf
    • Premise Drawings on Pages 4 and 6
    • 2 . The Eligible Premises are exempt from:
    • (1) Taxation for municipal and school purposes; and
    • (2) Development charges.
    • 3. This by-law shall be deemed repealed:
    • (2) If the Eligible Premises cease to be used for community centre purposes

This photo shows the Subleased premise drawing from By-Law 967-2014 including the Patio as shown in the old photo above.

This photo shows the premise drawing superimposed on a satellite photo of the Guild Inn.

Is the Heritage Protected Terrace Subleased Space or Public Space?


Original Update and Report provided by Friends of Guild Park and Guildwood Village Community Association facebook.com/GuildPark/posts/f539589280711127

7 comments

  1. Thanks so much for this informative exhaustive research to provide background on the ongoing changes to Guild Park. Rosa and Spencer Clark must be turning in their graves, as these profit-motivated changes are not in keeping with their ethics or their wishes for the property at all. There were such high hopes for the restoration of the Guild property with the promise of a restaurant and a return to the ambiance and hospitality of the Guild Inn itself. However, Dynamic seems only interested in how much profit they can make from extravagant weddings and the rare overpriced brunch offering. The tent masks the beauty of the restored Bickford residence and seems to encroach on the public space. This is, after all, a public park, supported through our property taxes.

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  2. It’s a shame about the tent and ruining the garden beds and not allowing access to the public!

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  3. Honestly why make an issue out of this…There are so few wedding spaces that are beautiful and affordable with this being one of there rare few spaces. It becomes a place people can experience with friends and family, meanwhile the guild park itself does not allow for real wedding ceremonies via multiple restrictions that do not allow for chairs, wedding arches (potentially religious one), and many other things. I know this comment will be the opposite of the majority here, because the targeted audience for this website are not people trying to plan a wedding. But honestly this whole quasi-attack on weddings here is absurd and obnoxious. When you restrict and restrict to the point where something cannot be enjoyed then what is the point of even showing up to places like the guild park… to just stare at the space… who cares? Spaces should be useable.

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    • There is no opposition to weddings! Quite the opposite. Everyone wants this wedding and banquet facility to operate successfully and profitably and for as many people to experience this beautiful space as possible. The Guild Inn in Guild Park is the probably the most beautiful place in all of Toronto to get married.

      The concern is not about weddings but about the lack of easy public access to the buildings and terrace covered by the Municipal Capital Facilities agreement between the tenant and City of Toronto and lack of public amenities which were promised to the public pre-restoration.

      The Guild Inn is nothing short of spectacular! Here’s a 16-minute tour of the inside https://guildwoodian.ca/2019/02/02/tour-of-the-guild-inn-estate/

      Like

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