150 Neighbours Spotlight: John P. Mason
“Today, our challenge is to ensure Guild Park serves as a destination that welcomes the world,” says John P. Mason, the President of Friends of Guild Park and Gardens. Hearing John speak about the legendary, 88-acre, architectural-gem-filled spot overlooking the Scarborough Bluffs, ensures you too will become a devoted community partner in a mission to preserve and share this former artists’ colony– so powerful is his passion.
In 2011, Heritage Canada – now National Trust for Canada – designated the historic Guild Inn as one of Canada’s Top 10 Most Endangered Heritage Sites. The original 1914 building was an example of ‘demolition by neglect.’ John says that at that time he and his wife had lived in the adjacent Guildwood Village for ten years. They knew that the Guild Inn and its surrounding parkland was a unique spot for nature and heritage.
“I was angry. I didn’t want to live in a community where public space of such beauty, significance and history was being ignored and allowed to disintegrate right before my eyes! A friend challenged me to do more than complain and wait for somebody else to take action.”
Inspired by the advocacy of Park People Alliance, John and a now-united team of neighbourhood volunteers fought to save and restore the integrity of the park’s stunning, century-old Toronto relics, and resurrect a vision of vibrant and beloved public space. Explore more about Guild Park’s past, present, and future.