|The Guild Inn Scarborough Ontario|
1914 - 2001
Nestled high on the Scarborough Bluffs in Ontario Canada is the historic Guild Inn. Surrounded by lush forest, beautiful statues, objects d' art, and a panoramic view of L. Ontario, the Guild was a favourite spot for weddings and other joyous occasions. Movies and t.v programs such as the Skulls, and Relic Hunter have been filmed there. Famous guests include Canadian PM Lester B. Pearson, Burt Reynolds, Kathleen Turner, Christopher Reeve, Sir Lawrence Olivier, Lorne Greene, Kevin Sorbo and many others. Guests enjoyed the tranquil and romantic ambiance provide by this charming old hotel. However, few people other than the former staff know of the Guild's past and perhaps current hauntings. The Guild Inn was officially closed to the public in October 2001 and it remains to be announced what will become of the hotel and property. Truly the end of an era in Scarborough, however inside these pages you will get a taste of the Guild Inn's more darker side. Enjoy!
A Brief History
By: K. Leigh - Member of H.R.G
The Guild Inn is a place I have pretty much spent most of my life. It has held intrigue, fascination, as well as employment since my grandmother. The stories I have heard from her were passed on from employees who worked there shortly after the war.
The history and facts:
The Guild Inn was built in 1914 on top of the Scarborough Bluffs,originally called Ranelagh Park, it was built as a summer home for Colonel Harold Bickford and his family. The home consisted of everything that could be associated with a large and prominent family such as servants quarters, a nursery, library, grand stairway, six or more bedrooms as well as three guest rooms, and a basement which contained a boiler room, storage room, fruits and vegetable room and a laundry room. In 1921 Ranelagh park was sold and became a boarding school for the China Mission Seminary until 1923. In 1923 Richard Veech Look purchased the boarding school to house his family as a summer home and called it Cliff Acres. He was moved to Quebec with his family in 1927 due to his position in his company.As he still owned Cliff Acres while he was away, the home sat empty from 1927-1932. Rosa and Spencer Clark bought the property in 1932 and turned it into the Guild Of All Arts. They opened their doors to house the gifted in arts, in exchange for their room and board the artist would provide their work to display. This continued until 1942. The WRENS( Women's Royal Canadian Naval Service)were housed at what became HMCS Bytown II. The Wrens worked in secrecy there having all the locks changed on their doors. They continued their operation there until 1943. In 1944 the government took over the Guild Inn turning it into a recuperative centre for returning war veterans with nervous disorders. They housed hundreds of patients up until 1947 where it became the Guild Inn once again and has been operating since.
What I am now about to relate is not a historical fact as I have not found proof but I fully believe in the sincerity of my grandmother, and there are some strange quirks that just don't add up. My grandmother worked at the Guild Inn in the 1960's as a banquet waitress. She was told by the long time employees, who had worked there shortly after the war, that the government had created a tunnel from the Scarborough Bluffs to access the main building, which was some distance away. I believe this may have been done for soldiers coming down the St. Lawerence river and into Lake Ontario. There was also rumours that experiments may have been conducted in these tunnels during the war as well. These tunnels were constructed during the war, as the building only started out as a few rooms in the basement, and the original blueprints do not show them. I have used these tunnels myself when I was employed there to transfer back and forth between the main level and the downstairs banquet facilities.I have seen bricked off doorways that may hold that secret passage to access more tunnels.
I have been completely alone in the hotel and felt as if I was being watched through the shadows and followed through the narrow corridors. My mother had worked there for about 20 years and experienced many strange things.
There was a small mansion at the edge of the Bluffs called Cory Cliff which was built in 1912. Cory Cliff was used as a meeting facility in which my mother would set up for early in the mornings. She would hear loud footsteps walking upstairs over her head, knowing she was completely alone, she would still go and investigate the source. She never found anyone. Things continued to happen, such as toilets flushing on their own, doors slamming, taps would turn on by themselves. There was a secret passage way that was hidden behind a bookshelf but as you tried to enter the passage it became a brick wall. From what I have heard, the passage way was suppose to lead to the basement.My mother would leave the building at night knowing she had turned off every single light, to have them all turn on simultaneously when she was outside walking away from the building.
My husband who is now employed at the Guild Inn would also recount the same stories happening to him when he started working at Cory Cliff. Unfortunately, Cory Cliff was torn down in 1997 due to deterioration. I have spent many years here and with the history of my family, I would love to uncover the secrets the Guild Inn holds.
The History of the Guild Inn
By: Carole M. Lidgold
(c) 2000 Brookridge Publishing House ISBN # 0-9698244-8-3
Webmasters Note - The above narrative was written prior to the announcement of the Guild’s closure and proposed restoration - redevelopment.
Read on for our investigation......
On the evening of August 3rd, 2001: A member of P.R.O had met a recently employed staff member of the Guild Inn who shared the following with us:
"Paul" has been at the Inn for about a month and is usually one of the last to leave for the evening. I had told Paul a bit of the history of the Inn as well as some unexplained experiences that have happened to myself. Judging by his reaction that I was "open minded" and had experiences at the Inn, he proceeded to tell me something that had happened to him a few nights into his employment.
Paul was just returning the kitchen keys to the front desk after ending his nightly routine of cleaning, locking the refrigerators, and turning off the lights. The only people in the hotel at the time were himself and the front desk clerk, who was not at the desk when Paul was returning the keys. All of a sudden, he heard a crash and the distinct sound of a refrigerator door "opening up" in the kitchen. He had remembered locking the refrigerators with a 12 foot bar and padlock only a few minutes prior and the only set of keys were still in his hand. He put the keys down walked into the kitchen expecting to find the front desk clerk. He was surprised to find nobody there. As he rounded a corner he noticed that some lights had been turned on and one of the refrigerator doors was wide open. The crash he had heard was the metal bar now laying on the ground and the padlock was missing from the immediate vicinity. Paul went in search of the lock while trying to reason with the events that had just happened. After a few minutes, he found the lock on the other side of the kitchen. The lock was open so he walked over to replace the fallen bar and prepare to leave the building. While he was locking the bar for the second time, he heard the sound of footsteps coming down the hall in his direction. Paul was feeling a little relieved that he was no longer alone and called out to what he thought was the front desk clerk. Hoping to hear a reasonable explanation to what had happened, he turned to confront an apparition. Paul had told us that the ghost was not completely solid but he could distinctly make out a tall man wearing a black top hat. It then disappeared. Paul was in disbelief as to what he had seen and left the Inn immediately. Before we spoke with him, he had no intentions of mentioning his story to anyone for fear of ridicule, so he kept it to himself and placed it in the back of his mind. I imagine he was relieved to know he was not the only person who has had something unusual happen to them there.
This witness was later more fully questioned by two P.R.O investigators.
Update: Sept 16th 2001
Written by Sue Darroch
Steve and I entered the tunnel area in question. The lighting was extremely poor and furnished solely by our flashlight. This particular chamber was devoid of any furnishings etc..- completely empty.. My eyes had not fully adjusted, however I immediately pointed out to Steve that I believed there was something in the far corner. It appeared to be a dark, huddled, humanish mass for lack of a better description. I do not believe that Anita nor Dee had overheard this statement made by myself and I know that they were not privy to my thoughts on the appearance of what I was seeing at the time as I did not verbalize them. Shortly thereafter Anita and Dee entered this room and both immediately and almost in unison stated that there was an 'entity' in the corner that I had previously pointed out to Steve. I found this to be corroboration to what I was physically seeing with
my eyes as well as 'feeling'. My two fellow investigators of the paranormal (Dee & Anita) quickly began what I can only describe as an 'intervention' in order to 'rescue' this perceived soul. They used encouraging and loving words in order to have the said entity 'move on'. While Dee maintained her composure, Anita (in closer proximity to the 'entity') appeared to be physically and emotionally shaken by the unfolding experience. She was in fact crying. At the approximate halfway point of this event my eyes (more properly adjusted) were drawn to a point in the tunnel area directly behind my colleagues, L. Reid and K. Leigh. I saw what appeared to be movement (as if someone had entered the tunnel area) coming towards us. This apparent movement had stopped just short of L. Reid whose position was at the approximate 1/4 mark of the tunnel in relation to us. As my attention had become solely focused on this new event; I did not notice the apparent departure of the 'entity' in the far corner. However, upon completion of their joint 'intervention' I did notice that the 'dark huddled humanish mass' was no longer visible. Very interesting! I would also like to add at this time that I personally had never witnessed this type of interaction before. As for whatever it was that had stopped in the tunnel it was my 'feeling' at the time that whatever 'it' was, was still there as we exited the area.
Other notes of interest: I did not notice any 'cold spots' or other dramatic change in temperature/atmosphere during this event, the total duration of this event was approximately 5 -10 minutes, (my best guestimate as I was not wearing a watch), I did not notice any unusual smells nor hear any sounds associated, my own composure remained throughout and oddly I do not remember a sense of fear or anxiety take hold at any time, which could be interpreted as strange in and of itself considering the circumstances and despite the fact that I was in the company of 5 others. One's senses/emotions typically become more heightened during such an experience. This is only a natural human reaction to that which we do not fully understand.
At this time I will refrain from theorizing and opinionizing on this particular experience other than to say that I believe 'something' of a paranormal nature DID in fact occur, was witnessed to varying degrees by six people, and that this was not what could be classed as a 'residual haunting'. I state this based on my own research and investigation of this type of phenomena to date and my beliefs which are borne out of my own life's experience.
Written By Lisa Reid
As I have lived near the Guild Inn all of my life, I have always viewed it as a grand, exciting, mysterious place. The beautiful gardens, unique sculptures and interesting buildings make it a place with a great story.
As you enter the gates of the Guild Inn, everything seems so calm, quiet and beautiful. Upon entering the building, you realize that it is a place that has been around for quite some time and that it has been well enjoyed by many people over the years, however you would never expect what was/is lurking below the mail floor. I know I certainly didn't.
Having explored the tunnels below the Guild before with Krystal and friends, I knew what to expect in terms of the condition of the area. There are low ceilings, broken tiles, low pipes, a mildew smell, a feeling of stuffiness and a sense of abandonment.
As we began to explore the tunnels, Krystal took us to a room that does not make sense. As we opened the metal door, we filed in one by one, along a narrow hallway (if that is what I can call it) to an area that is maybe 12 feet by 12 feet at the most. The floor slopes in this space and there is a small section of the back wall that has been cut out and has an opening like a sewer at the top, that we think leads to the outside grounds. Its purpose is still unknown.
As we explored this small area, I heard Sue telling Steve that there is something in the corner of this area. I'm thinking it's a spider or a mouse. As I see her flash the light in the corner, Dee and Anita begin to sense a presence in this area. Anita went to the corner to be with the spirit and Dee started speaking to the spirit. She said that he was sitting in the corner, with his eyes covered, not looking into the light. As Dee kept speaking to him, I had the feeling that someone may be coming down the hallway - maybe the evening desk clerk?; highly unlikely, but possible. Then Sue mentions that she senses someone in the hall area. I thought to myself, I'm having the same feeling. That can't be! As Dee continues to urge the spirit to look at the light, to go to the light, she explains that he has passed on, to not be afraid, and tells Anita to say a few words. I can not see Anita's actions, but I know that she is with the spirit, consoling him. My thoughts are, "is this really happening?, Am I really experiencing this? What is really going on here?", Then Dee announces that he has left the room and that he is now in a safer place. This entire incident lasted about, maybe, 5 minutes at the most.
As we continued to explore the tunnels, Anita and Dee had more feelings in other rooms, of things that had taken place. As we discussed our experiences over coffee, I asked Dee and Anita how many times they had done their team work in helping a spirit move on. They said that this was the first time. This pretty much confirmed for me that something really did happen down there.
So, as it stands, the Guild Inn is a place with a lot of history, with so much more to be discovered! I can't wait to see what we discover next!
Update Sept 24th 2001
Update: Feb. 5th 2002
The History of the Guild Inn
Webmaster’s note: The room being referred to is the “Spencer Suite” which is/was located on the 3rd floor.
Update: October 14th 2006
Update: February 2007
Again this year we are very proud to have been officially invited to host an information booth at the Guild's "Voices of the Guild" day in Scarborough (The Guild Inn) on the ghosts of the Guild Inn, and ghosts and hauntings in general.
Some Photos Of Our Meet & Greet
Robin & Chris At Our Table
Chris & Robin
The Guild Inn As It Appears Today
This Section Is Scheduled To Be Torn Down
A Sad Reminder Of Its Former Glory
ParaResearchers Endorses Restoration Efforts At The Guild Inn
The Guild Inn, Scarborough Ontario August 2008
A big thank you to Tere, Chris, Robin, and Lynn for manning the tables at this meet & greet, and supporting the Guild Inn!
The following was kindly submitted to us in Spring 2009
I worked at the Guild from 1971, through to 1973 and saw more than a few paranormal activities. My first experience was down in the tunnel, and I had been warned that strange things happened down there....to be honest I thought they were just trying to spook me. Well if I wasn't a believer before, I sure was after this incident. It was in early June, during my evening shift. We were working a banquet in the Bickford/Elm Catalpa rooms. I was asked to go and find another bus boy who was on his break, and we needed him. Traveling through the tunnel was the fastest way to the old wing as we called it. Went to the employees rest area, but didn't find the guy, so I checked in at the front office, and no one had seen him. I requested that if they did to send him down PDQ, as we needed his help cleaning up. On my way back through the tunnel I heard footsteps coming from behind me at a very fast pace, I presumed it was Bob my co worker so I waited for him to catch up. I kept hearing the footsteps, but saw no one, then it happened. All of a sudden the air got very cold, and there right in front of me, by say no more than ten feet was the spirit. I was sure not prepared for what I saw, so being scared I turned and ran....with the spirit following me, this I knew because I could still hear the footsteps gaining on me. Finally I stopped and turned, and the spirit kept going, passing right through me....man was I cold. Then it turned and disappeared right through a solid stone wall. Here is the really strange thing, when I got back there was Bob, he asked me where I had been....I replied that I was looking for him. Then he said he had just come through the tunnel????? How could he have come through the tunnel, when I was in the tunnel and sure did not see him???
Our thanks to Laurie for sharing these photos of the demolition of the Guild Inn with our readers.
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