There comes a time in everyone’s lives when all they need is a place to breathe. It has to be a quiet place without chaos, traffic, music, ringing cell phones, dinging facebook notifications and speaking. That place, has to be perfect, untarnished by hands and free of everything that makes real life so hard sometimes.
Just a little walk from the intersection of Guildwood Parkway and Livingston, I found my such paradise at the age of sixteen during an unfortunate session of summer school. I wanted to use my summer do to things normal children were doing–maybe going swimming, eating out, going to see movies–that kind of thing. My parents, on the other hand, had other plans than my own. Instead of me taking a break and having fun like I wanted to do in the summer break, I was shipped off to summer school at a different school than my own.
Oh the horror!
The Path – Photo by Kadian Tracey
so I wound up taking drama for a few weeks in my summer. Pouting and with ear phones plugged firmly in my ears, I wandered away from the school during a bright, summer day, turned right and kept walking along a wire fence with tress on the other side. I dragged my finger along the fencing, paying no attention to anything else around me but my music and my fingers, popping across the mouth of the holes on the wiring. Then suddenly the fence stopped, giving way to a path leading between rows of trees, in a lush area with nothing but a giant rock in the center then a lone path leading to an unknown area. I figured it was safe because the path was foot trodden as if it was used regularly. Looking around to see if anyone was looking, I checked the sign that stood there and it only warned against dogs in the park. Shrugging, I turned down this path. This whole curiosity in me was put there by my mother who often times turned down streets just to see where they went. I walked until I was probably in the center of the path, half way between where it was leading and where I was coming from, and stopped. I remember looking up to see if I could see the sky. There were glimpses of it when the soft wind curled around the leaves, pulling them to and pushing them fro. The sun peaked in on me during those times but other than that, it was cool. I closed my eyes and held my breath. The road, though not far from where I was standing was non-existent. I couldn’t hear the cars or buses driving by or the other students who by now were probably out of the building and roaming for food like lost bear cubs.
The Gate Ruin – Photo by Kadian Tracey
I could hear the leaves dancing in the wind and that was new to me. As I write this, I cannot remember how long I stood there, eyes closed, arms at my side, mind empty–just enjoying what was happening–or not happening–around me. There were no voices, sounds of vehicles, screaming babies, ringing phones, teacher shouting–all I felt was peace.
But eventually I had to move again. I told myself I had to go back to school which meant if I was going to see what else this place had to offer, I should get a move on. I glanced back toward the road to see I was still alone yet I continued until the dirt became a paged walkway that led from the edge of the tress to an opening. This place was no less spectacular than my heaven between the trees. To the left was what looked to be a gate of old ruins; remains of something bigger. They sat across from each other, backed by tress and another path leading to a great big opening. To my right was a small area with lush grass and a small cabin sitting right next to a an old tree. Though to this day I have no idea what is housed in that cabin if anything, I remember standing there, staring at hit thinking how beautiful and quaint it was. There was something quite grand about it, the way it sat there with grey walls and a slightly red, brick chimney on top. Maybe it was the writer in me then but whatever it was, the small building was more beautiful than any mansion I could ever see.
The wind changed and I continued along my way to a low fence, a foot trodden path. I climbed over the fence and made my way through until I saw why there was a fence there in the first place. It gave way to the edge of a cliff, but what a view!
For miles out all I could see was the clear water of Lake Ontario. I turned left and there was the outline of the land. To my right, was water. The cool wind coming off the lake flowed over my skin. For a moment, I sat in the dirt not caring if I was dirty or not. I sat there, confused because there were many beautiful things in life and there I was, a teenager, absolutely hypnotized by such a simple thing as the view of a lake off a cliff–and I have always been afraid of heights so why was I sitting there, looking out as if all was right with the world. This is what this place does – it makes me stop, regain perspective of the world and myself and try living as best I can. I didn’t get to explore the whole park that day because school–yes, I had to go back to school before I was late. There is one thing I dislike more than spending beautiful summer days in a classroom and that’s being late.
As the years went by, I have had a ton of chances to visit the Guild and what lies around and within it. And here are some pictures I have taken. This is the most peaceful place in Toronto – So if you’re in the city and you can spare some time – check it out.
The Path – Photo by Kadian Tracey
The Cabin – Photo by Kadian Tracey
The Russian Gates – Photo by Kadian Tracey
The Amphitheater – Photo by Kadian Tracey
Why the Willow Weeps – Photo by Kadian Tracey
The Ruins by the Old Guild Inn – Photo by Kadian Tracey
The old Guild Inn – Photo by Kadian Tracey