I took advantage of the nice weather recently to head out to a small park on the east end of Toronto. It’s a rather unique place that I discovered by accident and I get a great deal of pleasure from visiting this quiet little corner of the city.
Back in the late 1960s and early 1970s, many cities in North America were going through a period of economic growth. In the name of progress, concrete and glass skyscapers began to replace the original heritage buildings. Toronto was no exception.
Thanks to the foresight of a local couple, 70 architectural features were salvaged from demolished buildings and relocated to some land they owned near Scarborough Bluffs. The result was this unusual outdoor museum of Toronto’s architectural history. The cost and effort to save these massive pieces must have been staggering. This property was later purchased by the Conservation Authority for the Toronto Region.
These massive blocks are all that remain of the Temple Building built in 1896. At the time it was built, it was the tallest building in the British Empire -but there is conflicting information as to whether it was 9 stories or 12 stories tall. I wasn’t able to find any evidence to contradict its brief claim to fame.
I think there is a whimsical feeling to this park although others have said it has an abandoned feel like an ancient ruin. Early Toronto builders certainly had a fondness for Greek and Roman architecture.
These Greek columns were once part of a downtown bank, although there is conflicting information as to which bank – Bank of Canada or Bank of Toronto. In fact, most of the pieces in this park were salvaged from former bank buildings – not surprising I guess since that’s where the money was to be found.
It’s really a shame that Toronto destroyed so many of its historical buildings rather than carefully preserving them. Instead, they were replaced with bland boxes poking into the sky and these relics sit in a largely unknown park.
Thanks to Rosa and Spencer Clark, people like me can go and admire this unique collection of ‘art’ they assembled at the Guildwood Park.