Guildwood Community Church

140 Guildwood Parkway, Toronto, ON.

Built on the main parkway in Guildwood Village, the church is an early work of George Robb, and exhibits the Nordic influences that he was to explore in its later work.

Guildwood Village was a 1957 planned community on Lake Ontario, designed by Dr. Eugene Faludi, one of the leading urban planners of the period.  The community is associated with the Clark family, Spencer and Rosa, who founded the Guild of All Arts in the 1930s and later directed the planning of Guildwood Village.

Architect George A. Robb’s initial concept for a church with a dramatic hyperbolic-paraboloid roof was determined to be too costly.  It was superseded by a gabled design on a substantial podium, along with a flat-roofed building and garden walls that enclosed a court.  As built, the ensemble was somewhat more modest, although retained the fundamental characteristics of a sanctuary comprised of a monolithic gable and glazed end walls, along with a flat-roofed wing containing a parish hall.

The flared profile of the steep gable roof is supported by massive glue-laminated timber beams, wood purlins, and a structural wood deck.  A continuous brick wall wraps the sanctuary, and is interrupted by brick piers expressed on the interior and exterior.  These piers support the glulam beams, and windows span between the beams, below the soffit.  At the north and south, there are monumental window-walls, with tall, rectangular glazed panels repeated in staggered rows.

Brick walls at the south end of the sanctuary, along with a mezzanine above, form a narthex at the entrance.  With the exception of the brick walls and the glazing, natural wood finishes characterize the interior of the sanctuary.

To the east, and recessed from the façade of the sanctuary, is a single-storey wing with narrow, vertical windows.  It accommodates a community entrance, a parish hall, church offices, and support facilities.

The church is executed with high quality detailing and craftsmanship. The wood entrance doors, with their cast bronze pulls, are a fine example.

The building is a significant early work of Toronto educator and architect George A. Robb.  The design of Guildwood Church foreshadowed the Nordic influences that were later to appear in the series of Valhalla hotels.

The Guildwood Presbyterian Church and its associated landscape retain a high level of integrity.  The church remains a visual landmark within the community.  The building has been a place of worship and in continuous use by its community, since it opened