Toronto Nuit Blanche festival event sought for Scarborough’s Guild Park

News Apr 13, 2016 by David Nickle Scarborough Mirror

Nocturnal art afficionados could be ambling eastward in 2017, if Toronto Council decides to use the parkland surrounding Scarborough’s historic Guild Inn for a part of the normally downtown-focussed Nuit Blanche festival.

Toronto’s Economic Development Committee has asked staff to study having the former arts community and urban sculpture garden that perches on the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs for Nuit Blanche installations.

Currently, the autumn all-night festival only features locations in downtown Toronto.

But Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie argued in a letter to the committee that the Guild Park and Gardens, 88 acres of parkland featuring recovered architectural elements from now-demolished Toronto landmarks and an outdoor Greek amphitheatre, is a perfect place for the festival to spread out.

“There’s many different amazing arts and culture pockets that exist in this city,” said Ainslie. “I think that Guild Park and Gardens is one of those.”

The Guild Inn and park has a notable place in the history of Toronto’s arts community. Originally built in 1914 for Col. Harold Bickford on an estate of more than 400 acres, it was eventually purchased by Rosa and Herbert Clark, who turned the mansion into an arts community. They transformed the building into the Guild of All Arts, and constructed workshops and for artists across the estate.

During the Second World War, the site was used as a base for the Women’s Royal Naval Service, and after the war was retained briefly as a psychiatric hospital.

The Clarks retained the property afterwards, but faced with unaffordable property tax bills sold the bulk to developers and kept 90 acres, on which they began collecting architectural remnants to construct parkland.

In the course of this work, the mansion was transformed into the Guild Inn. Eventually purchased by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and finally it was turned over to Metropolitan Toronto. In 2001, the restaurant and hotel were finally shuttered.

Now, if Nuit Blanche installations come to the park, they will have to contend with an aggressive construction schedule involving private sector renovation of the inn, and the city’s own work at restoring the grounds.

But Economic Development General Manager Mike Williams said that managing that and a one-night arts festival could be done.

“There will be work going on there,” said Williams. “But can we do something in 2017? Probably.”

According to Kate Kennedy, a community activist working to program community events in the park, 2017 would be a good year to introduce Nuit Blanche.

“It would be a significant year for the Guild Park. It’s the 35th anniversary of the construction of the Greek Theatre as a live venue, and it is also the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Guild for All Arts,” she said.

The closest thing Guild Park has seen to Nuit Blanche is Restless Precinct, a set of multimedia installations and performances on park grounds in 2014 for a program featuring South Scarborough called Cultural Hotspot.

Toronto Nuit Blanche festival event sought for Scarborough’s Guild Park

Festival normally sticks to downtown locations

News Apr 13, 2016 by David Nickle Scarborough Mirror

Nocturnal art afficionados could be ambling eastward in 2017, if Toronto Council decides to use the parkland surrounding Scarborough’s historic Guild Inn for a part of the normally downtown-focussed Nuit Blanche festival.

Toronto’s Economic Development Committee has asked staff to study having the former arts community and urban sculpture garden that perches on the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs for Nuit Blanche installations.

Currently, the autumn all-night festival only features locations in downtown Toronto.

But Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie argued in a letter to the committee that the Guild Park and Gardens, 88 acres of parkland featuring recovered architectural elements from now-demolished Toronto landmarks and an outdoor Greek amphitheatre, is a perfect place for the festival to spread out.

“There’s many different amazing arts and culture pockets that exist in this city,” said Ainslie. “I think that Guild Park and Gardens is one of those.”

The Guild Inn and park has a notable place in the history of Toronto’s arts community. Originally built in 1914 for Col. Harold Bickford on an estate of more than 400 acres, it was eventually purchased by Rosa and Herbert Clark, who turned the mansion into an arts community. They transformed the building into the Guild of All Arts, and constructed workshops and for artists across the estate.

During the Second World War, the site was used as a base for the Women’s Royal Naval Service, and after the war was retained briefly as a psychiatric hospital.

The Clarks retained the property afterwards, but faced with unaffordable property tax bills sold the bulk to developers and kept 90 acres, on which they began collecting architectural remnants to construct parkland.

In the course of this work, the mansion was transformed into the Guild Inn. Eventually purchased by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and finally it was turned over to Metropolitan Toronto. In 2001, the restaurant and hotel were finally shuttered.

Now, if Nuit Blanche installations come to the park, they will have to contend with an aggressive construction schedule involving private sector renovation of the inn, and the city’s own work at restoring the grounds.

But Economic Development General Manager Mike Williams said that managing that and a one-night arts festival could be done.

“There will be work going on there,” said Williams. “But can we do something in 2017? Probably.”

According to Kate Kennedy, a community activist working to program community events in the park, 2017 would be a good year to introduce Nuit Blanche.

“It would be a significant year for the Guild Park. It’s the 35th anniversary of the construction of the Greek Theatre as a live venue, and it is also the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Guild for All Arts,” she said.

The closest thing Guild Park has seen to Nuit Blanche is Restless Precinct, a set of multimedia installations and performances on park grounds in 2014 for a program featuring South Scarborough called Cultural Hotspot.

Toronto Nuit Blanche festival event sought for Scarborough’s Guild Park

Festival normally sticks to downtown locations

News Apr 13, 2016 by David Nickle Scarborough Mirror

Nocturnal art afficionados could be ambling eastward in 2017, if Toronto Council decides to use the parkland surrounding Scarborough’s historic Guild Inn for a part of the normally downtown-focussed Nuit Blanche festival.

Toronto’s Economic Development Committee has asked staff to study having the former arts community and urban sculpture garden that perches on the edge of the Scarborough Bluffs for Nuit Blanche installations.

Currently, the autumn all-night festival only features locations in downtown Toronto.

But Scarborough East Councillor Paul Ainslie argued in a letter to the committee that the Guild Park and Gardens, 88 acres of parkland featuring recovered architectural elements from now-demolished Toronto landmarks and an outdoor Greek amphitheatre, is a perfect place for the festival to spread out.

“There’s many different amazing arts and culture pockets that exist in this city,” said Ainslie. “I think that Guild Park and Gardens is one of those.”

The Guild Inn and park has a notable place in the history of Toronto’s arts community. Originally built in 1914 for Col. Harold Bickford on an estate of more than 400 acres, it was eventually purchased by Rosa and Herbert Clark, who turned the mansion into an arts community. They transformed the building into the Guild of All Arts, and constructed workshops and for artists across the estate.

During the Second World War, the site was used as a base for the Women’s Royal Naval Service, and after the war was retained briefly as a psychiatric hospital.

The Clarks retained the property afterwards, but faced with unaffordable property tax bills sold the bulk to developers and kept 90 acres, on which they began collecting architectural remnants to construct parkland.

In the course of this work, the mansion was transformed into the Guild Inn. Eventually purchased by the Toronto Region Conservation Authority, and finally it was turned over to Metropolitan Toronto. In 2001, the restaurant and hotel were finally shuttered.

Now, if Nuit Blanche installations come to the park, they will have to contend with an aggressive construction schedule involving private sector renovation of the inn, and the city’s own work at restoring the grounds.

But Economic Development General Manager Mike Williams said that managing that and a one-night arts festival could be done.

“There will be work going on there,” said Williams. “But can we do something in 2017? Probably.”

According to Kate Kennedy, a community activist working to program community events in the park, 2017 would be a good year to introduce Nuit Blanche.

“It would be a significant year for the Guild Park. It’s the 35th anniversary of the construction of the Greek Theatre as a live venue, and it is also the 85th anniversary of the founding of the Guild for All Arts,” she said.

The closest thing Guild Park has seen to Nuit Blanche is Restless Precinct, a set of multimedia installations and performances on park grounds in 2014 for a program featuring South Scarborough called Cultural Hotspot.