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No future in sight for Guild Inn

Photo Courtesy / Teona Baetu

The Guild Inn has been a staple in Scarborough’s local art history. While the site, located on the Guildwood Parkway, has fallen into disuse over the years, current plans to revitalize the site have been scrapped due to lack of funding.

Built in 1914 by Colonel Harold Child Bickford as a country home, it was later purchased by a couple who turned it into a hub of artistic expression for art enthusiasts.

Before it was sold to the Province of Ontario in 1978, the inn changed for a brief time. During World War II it was a training base for the Canadian Women’s Royal Naval Service and a military hospital.

But years after its historical conception, the inn has become abandoned with boarded windows and walls with graffiti. The rumours of a ghostly haunting are never far behind. Nevertheless, Tommy Rei, a graduate student from Humber College, believes it should be left alone to “preserve culture.”

Now the City of Toronto is trying to bring it back to its former glory by attempting to revitalize the site.

A previous plan to redevelop the inn into a hotel and open a restaurant on the premises was proposed by Centennial College in 2011. Their letter of intent was later terminated because Centennial was unable to muster the investment needed.

Stephen Dragi Sekulovski, a third-year sociology and linguistics student, said he prefers the Guild to remain a guild, and would like to see “something that’s been structured as such over the last 70-80 years. How often do you see a structure that belonged to a guild, one of arts and crafts?”

The City of Toronto currently has no plans to start building this year, and a cost of almost $1.5 million dollars will be funded over the next three years.

There have been proposals to convert the inn into a restaurant and banquet facility.

No matter what happens to the Guild Inn, people will always visit the site with fond memories.