Canadian Film Centre

Toronto, ON
Canadian Film Centre

Landscape Information

Windfields Estate

Developed as the estate of Canadian businessman and racehorse breeder Edward Plunkett Taylor, this eight-hectare site was bequeathed to the municipality of North York in 1969. It remained the family’s residence until 1987, when it was transferred to the City of Toronto and leased to the Canadian Film Centre. The buildings and immediate grounds occupy about three hectares, while the remainder of the property is open parkland adjoining the adjacent Windfields Park, a 30-hectare tract along Wilket Creek carved from Taylor’s farm and gifted to the public. 

The Georgian Revival main house and stables were designed by Ian Jocelyn in 1936; the former built of grey Wiarton limestone and set 300 yards from Bayview Avenue behind a circular driveway. In the mid-1940s Earle Morgan designed the bungalow-style gatehouse northwest of the main residence (which served as Taylor’s office) along with cottages and a greenhouse grouped symmetrically with the stables. In 2014 the Northern Dancer Pavilion was built on the site of the former swimming pool, set on axis with the rear patio across a manicured lawn. Vestiges of the historic landscape can be found today in a stone retaining wall that traces the outline of the former rose garden between the gatehouse and main residence, while southwest of the circular drive the farmstead’s West Orchard has been located archaeologically. A second orchard lies behind the new pavilion, while the tennis courts were re-purposed for seating and their footprint demarcated with contemporary plantings. In 1992 the site was designated a heritage property under the Ontario Heritage Act.