The Guild Inn Estate, a historic Toronto venue operated by Dynamic Hospitality & Entertainment Group, has re-opened following a complete renovation and restoration.
To celebrate its return to the city’s special event venue inventory, Dynamic Hospitality & Entertainment hosted a ribbon-cutting ceremony and red carpet gala reception on June 14, 2017. It was attended by His Worship Mayor John Tory, Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie, and other special guests and VIPs.
“The Guild Inn Estate has been at the heart of Toronto’s special events scene since 1914 and we’re honoured to have restored it to its original glory as one of the city’s finest facilities,” said Sam D’Uva, co-managing director, Dynamic Hospitality & Entertainment Group. “We’re certain that The Guild Inn Estate will continue to bring the community together to celebrate memorable events for many years to come.”
The architecture of the new Guild Inn Estate combines the restored historical/heritage building with a contemporary, state-of-the-art addition. The 40,000-square-foot property is located on 88 landscaped acres. The multi-purpose event space can be divided into four separate rooms, and accommodates groups as small as 10 and galas of up to 1,000 people. Other features include:
- 6,600 square foot green building roof certified by the City of Toronto
- Collections of original art work and historical artifacts from famous Canadian artists and craftsmen who previously resided at the Guild Inn
- The Bickford Bistro, originally the Bickford House, can accommodate up to 60 guests and is open for lunch and dinner
- Four private (bridal) suites
- State-of-the-art sound and lighting system inside the building
- 20-foot high floor-to-ceiling glass wall overlooking gardens in banquet space
“Our goal in renovating the estate was to revive the existing historical charm and to modernize and expand the venue to accommodate up to 1,000 people,” said Piero Suppa, co-managing director, Dynamic Hospitality & Entertainment Group. “The scenic location and interior charm has already drawn bookings for the next two years, and we’re very proud that the Toronto community is recognizing the elegance and grandeur of the immaculately restored venue.”
Guild Inn Estate History
Located on the Scarborough Bluffs overlooking Lake Ontario, the property has a colourful past. The original, two-storey house was built in 1914 by Colonel Harold Bickford. The large property was called Ranelagh Park. Financial setbacks led to Bickford selling it in 1921. It was home to the China Mission College from 1921 to 1923, when it was sold to American businessman Richard Veech Look, who owned it until 1932.
The Guild Inn was born in 1932, when the property was purchased by Rosa Breithaupt Hewetson and her husband Herbert Spencer Clark. Together they transformed it into a “guild of all arts.”
From 1932 until the early 1940s, the estate was compromised of a private residence (the Bickford House) that housed artists and craftsmen; studios and workshops; and acres of gardens and woodlands. World War II resulted in a shortage of materials for artisans, and in 1943, the estate was transformed into a radio telegraphy training facility for WRENS and then used as a hospital for war veterans.
The Guild of all Arts reopened in 1947, but it could no longer operate as a co-operative subsidizing artists, and it started to be used by visitors and non-resident craftsmen. In 1965, a six-story concrete hotel wing and a swimming pool were added.
The Metropolitan Toronto Council acquired the site in 1978 from the Clarks, who were elderly and in failing health. It was used as public park and hotel until 2001, when it closed its doors. It remained closed and fell into disrepair, until the City of Toronto entered into an agreement with Dynamic Hospitality & Entertainment Group, which operates several special event venues in the Greater Toronto Area, including The Eglinton Grand, Berlin, Yuk Yuk’s (Toronto, Mississauga and Vaughan), and Wendel Clark’s Classic Grill and Bar (Burlington, Hamilton, Brampton and coming soon, Thunder Bay).
Dynamic Hospitality began restoration of the Guild Inn Estate in December 2015.