Landmark decision by City Council Brings Centennial College Closer to Restoration of Guild Inn

Toronto, Canada (PressExposure) August 20, 2009 -- Toronto City Council today endorsed the terms of a Letter of Intent with Centennial College, moving the college one step closer in its efforts to redevelop the historic Guild Inn property in Scarborough.

Centennial can now enter into binding lease negotiations with City of Toronto staff to finalize a 76-year sub-lease agreement for the 6.8-acre footprint of the original hotel site, situated within an 80-acre lakeside park that the City of Toronto leases from the Toronto Regional Conservation Authority.

"The Guild Inn project epitomizes Centennial's commitment to Scarborough. As part of our vision to transform lives and communities through learning, it gives us another way to contribute to the economic, educational and cultural life of our community, while preserving and revitalizing a beloved landmark," says Ann Buller, President and CEO, Centennial College. "If we have found a way to save it, everyone – the college, the city and the community – will enjoy the benefits."

Centennial has proposed to redevelop the site as a new hotel and conference centre complex. As part of this project, the college intends to restore the historic Bickford Residence, a portion of which will house the research and learning resources of its Culture and Heritage Institute. It is expected to operate on a commercially viable basis while providing training opportunities for students from Centennial’s School of Hospitality, Tourism and Culture and related college degree programs.

City Council's decision on August 5 marks the culmination of a long and intense negotiation process that balances the commercial interests of prospective hotel developers and operators against the long-term civic and ecological value of the surrounding park. The resulting agreement is strongly supported by the surrounding community, Councillor Paul Ainslie and colleagues.

Centennial College's unique corporate status and position of trust in the community makes the college an ideal choice to build upon the heritage and cultural properties of the site in the spirit of its visionary owners, Rosa and Spencer Clark. Although Centennial is not self-financing the redevelopment, the college is able to create a special purpose corporation to contract with private-sector hotel developers and operators, while separately anchoring a land lease agreement with the City of Toronto to secure the site.

About Centennial College

Centennial College is Ontario’s first community college, established in 1966, primarily serving the eastern portion of the Greater Toronto Area through four campuses and seven satellite locations. It has a record of exemplary teaching, innovative programming and extensive partnership building. Centennial is recognized as one of the most culturally diverse post-secondary institutions in Canada. Almost 100 ethno cultural groups are represented and 80 languages are spoken on campus.

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Press Release Submitted On: August 19, 2009 at 4:02 am
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