Canadian Film Centre

Windfields Estate was once the home of Edward Plunkett “E.P.” Taylor (1901-1989), the prominent Canadian businessman and breeder of champion racehorses. Taylor founded one of Canada’s most powerful conglomerates, which held brewing, grocery, mining and broadcast interests. As a horse breeder, Taylor’s farm produced Northern Dancer, a champion thoroughbred considered the greatest sire of the 20th century.

The Taylor family lived on the property until 1987 when the estate was transferred to North York, and eventually amalgamated into the City of Toronto, with the agreement that it be leased to the Canadian Film Centre and adapted for use as a creative media institution.

The eight-hectare site was one of the first properties in the area developed following the 1929 extension of Bayview Avenue north from Eglinton Avenue. In 1936, Taylor commissioned architect Ian Jocelyn Davidson to design the main house and adjoining stables. Built in the Georgian Revival style, the house features a Palladian window in the front-facing gable and a swan’s neck pediment above the entrance. After the Second World War, extensive additions were made to the property, including the north wing of the Main House, the Pool, the Stables and Cottages, and the Gatehouse, which was used by Mr. Taylor as his offices. Architect Earle C. Morgan produced the designs for the gatehouse, greenhouse and three workers’ cottages in 1946.

In 2009, we began renovations on the property through the $12 million Windfields Campus Improvement Project, made possible thanks to the generous support of the Government of Canada, the Province of Ontario, the City of Toronto, the Ontario Trillium Foundation, and private sector corporations, foundations and individuals. 

To date, we have diligently completed upgrades which include conversion to greener and more cost-effective geothermal heating and air conditioning, plumbing and electrical system upgrades, enhanced lighting and security, increased and improved barrier-free access, window restoration, attic and crawl space remediation, masonry repairs and foundation stabilization, terrace remediation, roof repairs and re-shingling. 

With the expansion of our programs to include the Actors Conservatory, the campus required a new building to provide additional studio space and also host private and public events. The Northern Dancer Pavilion was specifically designed and built for our multi-disciplinary programs. Unveiled in the spring of 2014, its completion 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.

Designed by Ken Fukushima, the landmark building is constructed of glass and steel, the same materials used to build the historic greenhouse on Windfields Estate; with the north and south exteriors of the pavilion clad in Western red cedar, the same wood used for the roofs on the cottages; and Wairton limestone, the stone used for the walls of the main house. These construction and design details are meant to complement the heritage of the original buildings on Windfields Estate.

More Info

Request Booking Info