The Story of Windfields
Windfields Estate is located on the traditional territory of many nations, including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples. The CFC acknowledges that this land is covered by Treaty 13, also known as the Toronto Purchase, with the Mississaugas of the Credit. This territory is within the lands protected by the Dish With One Spoon covenant, an agreement between the Anishnabeg and the Haudenosaunee to peaceably share and care for the Great Lakes region.
From racehorse ... to film course.
In 1932, the 20-acre site at 2489 Bayview Avenue in north Toronto was purchased by Canadian financier Edward Plunkett "E.P." Taylor (1901-1989) as a home for his growing family. He and his wife, Winnifred (d. 1982), developed the property as an equestrian estate. The estate was named Windfields by Winnifred while the couple were out walking on their property on a windy autumn day.
In 1988, the Taylors consented to filmmaker Norman Jewison’s request to use Windfields for his fledgling Canadian Film Centre.
E.P. Taylor with legendary racehorse Northern Dancer. Photo courtesy of the Taylor Family Archives.
Milestones in the estate’s development:
Ian Joceyln Davidson is commissioned to design the main house and adjoining stables, in Georgian Revival style.
Earle C. Morgan designs the gatehouse, pool and cabanas, and three workers’ cottages “The Village”).
Morgan designs the conservatory for Mrs. Taylor.
The back of Windfields Estate, 1953. Photo courtesy of the Taylor Family Archives.
The Taylors bequest Windfields Estate to the Borough of North York. (Members of the Taylor family continue to live on the property until 1987.)
At Mayor Mel Lastman’s suggestion, Jewison contacts E.P.’s son, Charles Taylor, and persuades the Taylor family to let the CFC operate at Windields Estate.
E.P.’s son, Charles Taylor, and CFC founder, Norman Jewison, announce their plans for the use of Windfields Estate to become the CFC.
The CFC enters into a long-term lease agreement with the City, renewed in 2013.
Keith Wagland makes renovations to the main house.
Windfields Estate is designated as a heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act.
CFC begins a $12 million campus improvements project.
The Northern Dancer Pavilion after its completion in 2014.
The Northern Dancer Pavilion opens, designed by Ken Fukushima. The 6,500 sq. ft. building is a landmark structure, enhancing Windfields as a Canadian cultural destination. The Northern Dancer Pavilion, built on the footprint of the former pool
and cabanas, houses CFC’s programs and initiatives. The completion of the Northern Dancer Pavilion marks the conclusion of the Windfields Campus Improvement Project, and heralds the full restoration and preservation of the CFC campus as a cultural landmark and Ontario Heritage Site
As a result of several archaeological assessments conducted during the CFC’s infrastructure project, nearly 2,000 artifacts were discovered and inventoried. Many were identified as dating back to the early 1800s, when the area was settled by Loyalist émigrés. Peter Whitney and his family maintained their farmstead for several generations, selling the property in 1873. It continued to change hands over the next 55 years and was purchased by the property development company Bayview Heights Ltd. in 1928.