The history of Guildwood Village revolves around The Guild Inn which was founded in 1932 by Rosa and Spencer Clark as a retreat for artists and craftsmen. “The Guild of All Arts,” as it was then known featured workshops and studios, in a picturesque setting atop the Scarborough Bluffs.
During World War II, The Guild Inn was used as an official naval base called “HMCS Bytown II, and then later as a specialized military hospital known as “Scarborough Hall.” After the war, The Guild Inn was returned to the Clarks and its popularity rose to new heights.
In the 1950s rising taxes forced the Clarks to sell 400 acres of their property to the developers who built the present day Guildwood Village neighborhood. In 1978 the Metropolitan Toronto and Region Conservation Authority purchased the remainder of the Guild Inn Estate, thus preserving its beauty for future generations to explore and enjoy.
Guildwood is situated just northeast of Scarborough Bluffs Park, along the shoreline. The area is isolated and exclusive, bordered by Scarborough Village and Kingston Road to the west and northwest, respectively. The VIA Rail and CN Rail lines form the northern border of the neighborhood, and Guildwood ends where Grey Abbey Park circles around the eastern subdivision comprising predominantly of Greyabbey Trail. Guildwood Beach and Guild Park and Gardens meet the shore for much of the length of the community.
Comprised almost entirely of residential zoning, Guildwood evokes a sensation of being isolated from the rest of the world. It almost appears to exist as a hidden pocket of meticulous landscaping, sleepy streets, and opulent stonework. In fact, the main entrance to the community consists of an impressive stone pillar and cast-iron gateway, situated at Kingston Road and Guildwood Parkway. When the neighborhood was initially developed, the plan was to preserve as many trees as possible in the area, which has continued to this day. There’s an impressive sense of collective respect for nature and greenery throughout much of the area as a result.
The major landmark in this neighborhood is the historic Guild Inn, located at 201 Guildwood Parkway. The Guild Inn is situated on ninety acres of property overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs. Tourists and local residents come to the Guild Inn to enjoy its historic architectural walking tour and rustic woodland nature trail.
Guildwood Village has an active community association that produces its own newsletter as well as sponsoring various neighborhood events. One of these events is Guildwood Day, which is held in June and features a pancake breakfast, games, races, crafts, a parade along Guildwood Parkway, and an evening barbeque.
Guildwood Village features an excellent mix of houses, including bungalows, split-level and detached two-storey homes built in the 1950’s and ’60s, and newer custom-designed homes. Many Guildwood Village houses feature front porches that look out onto the tree-lined streets and lush gardens that are trademarks of this neighborhood. Also noteworthy are the many houses situated on the south side of Guildwood Parkway that command a spectacular view of Lake Ontario.
When Guildwood Village has developed a bylaw was in place stipulating that tall trees were not permitted to be removed from properties. So while the housing stock generally dates from 45-60 years old, many of the trees in the neighborhood are much older, which accounts for the picturesque beautiful tree canopy found throughout the neighborhood.
The stretch of Guildwood Parkway west of Livingston Road contains a mix of townhouses, multi-plex dwellings, and low-rise apartment buildings. There is also a luxury condominium apartment building just south of Kingston Road, at the entrance gates to this neighborhood.
Subdivisions complete with winding roads and cul-de-sacs serve as the infrastructure for much of Guildwood’s residential zoning. In 1957, it’s famous “Avenue of Homes” served as the basis of the neighbourhood’s development. This collection of upscale and prestigious homes continued to blossom and spread, and soon enough the area had gained a reputation for being an exclusive upper-class community.
Guildwood is often a retreat considered by retirees or those looking to settle down in a relaxed atmosphere to start families, with several retirement residences and housing developments merged into one cohesive community. There’s a wide assortment of homes that evoke Americana and traditional English styles, but you’ll also stumble across elegant modern abodes that mingle harmoniously with the surrounding landscape.
The way the neighborhood is developed allows for these styles to intertwine without intruding upon one another. Jack Miner Senior Public School is located on Guildwood Parkway in a centralized location, and other public schools can be found just north of the neighborhood. Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute is situated just next to Guild Park and Gardens, and with the park’s incorporation of repurposed Old Toronto stone facades as decorations, the area presents an air of academia and intellectual curiosity. If you can get past the minimal presence of businesses save for the essentials (head north to West Hill for more shopping if need be), this can be a wonderful retreat from city life.
The Guildwood Shopping Plaza located at the south-east corner of Guildwood Parkway and Livingston Road serves the immediate needs of the residents of this community. This shopping plaza has an upscale tone and friendly neighborhood appeal. The mix of stores here includes a large supermarket, a pharmacy, a barbershop, a bakery, a bank, a beauty salon, a travel agency, a postal outlet, a veterinarian clinic, and professional and medical offices. The Guildwood Public Library is also located at this shopping plaza.
Living in Guildwood is serene, tranquil, and simple. Groups of tourists or locals tend to partake in historic architectural walking tours and explore the rustic woodland nature trail. Various events take place throughout the year as well, including Guildwood Day, which features games, crafts, a parade along Guildwood Parkway, and an evening community barbeque. This comes around every June and is very popular amongst residents and tourists alike. The neighborhood boasts a very active community association that produces its own newsletter and sponsors events throughout the community.
Children will find countless playmates and be enticed to bike over to a friend’s house to have a little fun during their downtime, free of the noise and neon distractions produced in more densely populated areas. Seniors and families will find ample parkland to visit and explore, and there are always activities in the works throughout Guildwood to keep things fresh and exciting.
This lush, pristine neighborhood is the ideal place to settle down and find a slice of serenity. Guildwood provides an isolated, privatized approach to living, and as such it allows for families to be free of commercial distractions and better appreciates their time with one another.
The picturesque Guild Inn gardens are decorated with sculptures and architectural remnants from Toronto’s past. A promenade on these grounds leads to the Scarborough Bluffs, overlooking Lake Ontario. The Guildwood Park also features nature trails that wind their way through a majestic century-old Carolinian forest. The parkland of the Guild Inn (Inn currently closed with future plans under review) is a focal point of the community. These grounds include important architectural artifacts from across Toronto that have found a home here. In the summertime, the Guild Inn hosts an Art in the Park show as well as live outdoor theatre productions.
Guildwood has its own Go Train station which is part of a Lakeshore service that links up with Union Station in downtown Toronto. it is a 20 min GO train ride to Union Station.
The VIA Rail and Guildwood GO Station at the north end of the neighbourhood is the primary means of quick access to and from inner Toronto, and it is highly encouraged to use the GO Transit network. It offers 1,348 parking spaces and is frequently used by commuters. Travelling by car isn’t as practical if you commute into the city, but is doable in a pinch if you can handle the traffic. Another alternative is to take bus route 116, which will take you from Guildwood Parkway to Kennedy Station in Eglinton, which offers express transfers into Toronto.
Guildwood, has 10 Public schools, 3 Catholic schools, in this neighborhood, your kids can get a great education.
“Come to Laurier and enter a school where fairness, understanding, and mutual respect are practiced every day. Our beautiful natural setting provides a basis to integrate environmental awareness into our geography, science, art, and physical education courses. Our well-rounded programs offer you many opportunities for apprenticeship and workplace experiences. At Laurier, we are committed to the development of “character education”. Our goal is to establish behaviors and attitudes that are beneficial to the development of principled and contributing members of the community. The administrators, teachers, and support staff are dedicated to helping students make the most of their high school learning experience.” As originally published by Sir Wilfrid Laurier Collegiate Institute
Address: 255 Coronation Dr, Scarborough, ON M1E 2J3, Canada | Telephone: 416 283-7749
“Académie Alexandre-Dumas est plus qu’une école, c’est une belle communauté francophone, vivante, multiculturelle, riche d’entraide et de créativité afin de répondre aux besoins des enfants.” As originally published by É Élém Académie Alexandre-Dumas
Address: 10 Bellamy Rd S, Scarborough, ON M1M 3N8, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-6075 | Fax: (416) 396-6077 | Email: BlissCarman@tdsb.on.ca
“Bliss Carman Senior Public School is dedicated to serving the wide variety of needs exhibited by early adolescent students. We have a strong belief in inclusive education and we support that belief through our academic programs, a variety of co-curricular programs, and student support and leadership opportunities. The school is named after William Bliss Carman (1861 – 1929), the Poet Laureate of Canada. The building is over 30 years old and in excellent condition, due to the efforts of our caretaking staff, Board maintenance staff, teachers and students. We are located at Kingston Road and Bellamy Road South, and serve a large, multi-ethnic community.” As originally published by Bliss Carman Senior Public School
Address: 21 Gatesview Ave, Scarborough, ON M1J 3G4, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-6120 | Fax: (416) 396-3357 | Email: Cedar@tdsb.on.ca
“Cedar Drive takes pride in creating a sense of belonging among our staff, students, and families through positive opportunities for all. We make programming and instruction priorities by building the capacity of our staff, empowering our students, and developing strong relationships and partnerships. Cedar Drive Junior Public school officially opened in 1970. Growth in enrolment resulted in an addition in 1997 which doubled the size of the school. The school receives its name from the many cedar trees that once populated the area and from the close proximity to the street, Cedar Drive. In the last decade, the school community has experienced growth, resulting in a diverse population where we can share, learn, and celebrate with one another.” As originally published by Cedar Drive Junior Public School
Address: 166 Sylvan Ave, Scarborough, ON M1E 1A3, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-6220 | Fax: (416) 396-6264 | Email: ElizabethSimcoe@tdsb.on.ca
“Elizabeth Simcoe Junior Public School is a dynamic school that has a strong sense of community. The school is located in Guildwood Village in Scarborough, on the north side of Sylvan Avenue and adjacent to the Scarborough Bluffs. The expansive school grounds provide plenty of space for physical education, school sports teams, intramurals, and outdoor play. The school opened in 1963. It was named in honor of John Graves Simcoe’s wife, Elizabeth Simcoe. The school population is relatively stable. Many of the children who enter Junior Kindergarten remain with us until the end of Grade 6. English is the language spoken at home for the majority of our students.” As originally published by Elizabeth Simcoe Junior Public School
Address: 60 Heathfield Dr, Scarborough, ON M1M 3B1, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-6265 | Fax: (416) 396-5987 | Email: GeorgeP.MackiePSJr@tdsb.on.ca
“George P. Mackie Jr. P. S. is a dynamic neighborhood school that was originally built in 1954 and named after George P. Mackie, Trustee, for the former Scarborough Board of Education (1927-1952). The school is nestled in a residential neighborhood southeast of Markham and Kingston Roads, just north of the magnificent Scarborough Bluffs. We serve 140 students from kindergarten to grade 6 in a well-established community with a rich history. We are committed to providing a healthy, thriving learning environment fostering high academic achievement, physical, social and emotional well-being and citizenship.” As originally published by George P. Mackie Junior Public School
Address: 225 Livingston Rd, Scarborough, ON M1E 1L8, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-6295 | Fax: (416) 396-3362 | Email: Guildwood@tdsb.on.ca
“Guildwood Jr. P.S. has been a vibrant part of the local community since it opened as a K – 8 school in 1959. The name Guildwood is associated with the historic “Guild of All Arts” which was founded at the Guild Inn. The school has been the center of an established neighborhood for over fifty years. Our school has a computer lab, library resource room, gym with stage, enclosed courtyard and a large playground. There is a daycare center for school aged and pre-school children in the school. Our staff consists of a principal, 8 teachers and 5 FTE support staff. Primary students receive Music and Physical Education instruction from specialized teachers. Itinerant Vocal, Band and Strings teachers provide additional music support. As originally published by Guildwood Junior Public School
Address: 66 Dearham Wood, Scarborough, ON M1E 1S4, Canada | Telephone: (416) 396-6525 | Fax: (416) 396-6965 | Email: Poplar@tdsb.on.ca
“At Poplar Road School we believe all students have the ability to succeed. Poplar Road opened in 1960 and was later expanded to include a new library. It is located off Poplar Road on Dearham Wood which is situated in the Guildwood community. Poplar Road is committed to educating every child in our care by providing the skills, knowledge, and values necessary to become capable and concerned participants in Canadian society. The school serves 220 children from Kindergarten to Grade 6. A daycare center is housed within the school building.” As originally published by Poplar Road Junior Public School
CATHOLIC AND PRIVATE SCHOOL
Address: 29 Meadowvale Rd, Scarborough, ON M1C 1R7 | Telephone: 416-393-5421 | Fax: 416-286-3980
“Notre école se distingue par son bâtiment moderne, son emplacement féerique à proximité du Parc Wanita, son engagement dans la Foi, sa considération pour le bien être de tous les enfants, sa vie culturelle riche, son vif esprit francophone et la solide expérience professionnelle de l’équipe qui y oeuvre. Le personnel enseignant est dynamique et engagé dans toutes les initiatives visant l’amélioration du rendement des élèves. De plus, la communauté des parents et amis de l’école est très impliquée pour enrichir la vie scolaire.” As originally published by ÉÉC Saint-Michel
Address: 2850 Eglinton Ave E, Scarborough, ON M1J, Canada | Telephone: 416-986-6414
“Notre établissement se veut un milieu d’apprentissage et de vie, où la francophonie et les valeurs humaines et religieuses prennent tout leur sens au sein de la communauté franco-ontarienne.” As originally published by ÉSC Père-Philippe-Lamarche
Address: 215 Livingston Rd, Scarborough, ON M1E 1L8, Canada | Telephone: 416-393-5306 | Fax: 416-397-6550
“St. Ursula Catholic School has served the Catholic children of Guildwood Village and the surrounding area of Scarborough for more than 45 years. Our school’s community church is St. Martin de Porres with some of our families living within St. Boniface boundaries. Other families traditionally attend to their spiritual needs through churches with services accommodating their cultural language.” As originally published by St. Ursula Catholic School