By Colleen Isherwood, Senior Editor
TORONTO — First an artist's colony and then a prestigious hotel, The Guild Inn has been unoccupied since 2001. At a groundbreaking ceremony last Thursday, Dynamic Hospitality said it would be restored to its former glory.
Against the backdrop of the now derelict building, Toronto mayor John Tory, Paul Ainslie, councillor for ward 43, Sam D'Uva and Piero Suppa of Dynamic Hospitality Group, put shovels to dirt to officially kick off the $20 million restoration and renovation of the historic property.
“Dynamic and the city will renovate and restore The Guild Inn to its former splendour and glory to play host to the most important celebrations in the city,” D'Uva told the assembled guests and media on the gardens and grounds of the city's east-side property on Nov. 26. “Hosting annual meetings, film and photo shoots and corporate events, to social and city gatherings including charitable galas, intimate dinners and memorable weddings, the GTA will once again celebrate in style, with a nod to the history of The Guild Inn.
“You have to be old to remember The Guild Inn,” said mayor Tory. He said that for years, councillor Ainslie had kept the dream of a restored inn alive, and at last, despite regulatory, environmental and historical obstacles, the project was going ahead. He added that it was “smart and sensible to get the best people from the private sector involved,” and that he was amazed at how fast it will now happen.
Dynamic Hospitality and Entertainment Group will head up the project, which is scheduled for completion in the fall of 2016. Dynamic founders, Sam D'Uva and Piero Supply, have signed a 40-year agreement for the property and have hired Giancarlo Garofalo Architect Inc. and Queen's Quay Architects International (Q2) as the design consultants for the restoration project.
The vision is for a 40,000-square-foot property located on 88 acres, with a multipurpose event space that can accommodate everything from intimate dinners for 10 to galas of up to 1,000. A green-certified building roof, collections of original art and historical artifacts, and restoration of the old Bickford House to house a restaurant to be named The Bickford Bistro, are all part of the plans.
The design of The Bickford Bistro will retain the existing fireplace, stairwell, wooden beams and panelling.
Dynamic's managing director Piero Suppa added: “At the time of breaking ground, we already have confirmed bookings for the venue. The demand in the GTA for a distinctive special event venue steeped in history is apparent.”