guild inn

Toronto's Forgotten Landmarks: The Guild Inn

Sitting high atop the Scarborough Bluffs on Toronto's eastern side, is one of our oldest and most beautiful hotels, the Guild Inn. Boarded-off and sealed to potential guests, this magnificent structure is also famed as being one of the most haunted buildings in Canada. It consists of two large buildings, the stouter of which was built in 1914, with a large addition being added in the mid-60s.

I've visited this place many times, as well as its beautiful surrounding gardens (still frequented for wedding photos and the like). In and of themselves, these gardens are quite interesting - in days past, whenever an important building in downtown Toronto was demolished, a small portion of the structure would be transplanted to the Guildwood gardens (behind the Inn). On my most recent sojourn, I decided to do something a little different than my usual photographic escapades - I decided to sleep over.

guild inn

There is nothing more disturbing than waking up from uneasy sleep to a series of loud crashes which shake the entire building you are in; more so when you gain a hazy recollection that you are in a condemned, abandoned, haunted hotel room (I use the term 'sleep' here loosely). As I hurriedly awoke my companions, we rushed to our balcony to realize that the noise was from a drunken teenager from BC (as we later found out), who was trying to gain access by force to a lower floor of the building. Through our panic of terror-induced laughter, we realized it was 6:30 am - the sun was coming up, and we headed to the roof to bear it witness.

guild inn

There are so many downright creepy elements to our stay that will elude these short words, but let me share a few that will perhaps give you a clue as to why it was so disturbing. The room we 'stayed' in was not only one of the few which actually had electricity, but the beds were completely intact - and made (tucked-in and all). I was scouting the place not a week earlier, and this was not the case. There was a distant electrical hum throughout the corridors which wavered in tone, and added to the chemical-rot smell, gave a generally uneasy feeling. On top of this was the fact that, between individual rooms there was a noticeable temperature change, which, of course, we nervously attributed to (made up, on-the-spot) 'facts' about contained environments, and the like.

guild inn

This building was used at various times as a makeshift hospital, a shelter, but mainly as a hotel - so why shouldn't I meet it where it was at; in trying to legitimately understand a structure in its own footing, I ended up discovering one of the most terrifying places I have ever visited. I have been to abandoned skyscrapers, aircraft graveyards, psychiatric hospitals, churches, train stations, you name it - but this will remain one of the most disturbing abandoned places I have ever visited. My one night stand with the Guild Inn solidifies in my mind precisely why these places are so intriguing and mysterious. The boarded windows and darkened rooms are open stories to me... and open questions. So often in life we have the answers ready-made, and it is the questions which so perturb us.

Here are some more snaps I took during my surreal visit:


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