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Friday, September 18, 2020

The lost movie theatres of Toronto

Putting together a comprehensive photo survey of Toronto's lost movie theatres would be a rather laborious task given how many have come and gone over the years, but even a brief look back reveals a city with a rich cinematic history that has partially faded over the years. 

A number of the buildings that housed movie theatres in Toronto are still standing, but even those that have been well preserved — like the Eglinton, for instance — don't captivate the imagination as they once did.

This, no doubt, has to do with the fact that they no longer play films, but it goes deeper than this as well. The advent of the multi/megaplex ushered in an era in which theatres became more and more like big box stores: anonymous, forgettable and ugly.

And as much as the movie-going experience is focused on watching the films themselves, there's a wider ritual that surrounds a visit to the theatre that's become progressively more sterile. Is there a less architecturally inspiring place than the modern cinema?

Lest I pout too much, however, it's worth remembering how many remarkable rep cinemas keep the old school experience of going to the movies intact. From the Revue to the Royal, there's plenty of places to soak up film culture in Toronto.  

Behold, the lost movie theatres of Toronto.

comique theatre toronto

Comique Theare (near Yonge and Dundas), 1910

Auditorium Theatre Toronto (Queen and Spadina), 1913

Allen Theatre Toronto

The Allen (13 Richmond St. East, later the Tivoli), 1919

Bloordale TheatreBloordale Theatre, Ca. 1920s

Vintage Movie Theatre TorontoThe Major Theatre, 1780 St. Clair West, Ca. 1930sBayview Theatre TorontoThe Bayview Theatre, 1605 Bayview Ave. (later the Bayview Playhouse), Ca. 1930s

Adelphi Theatre Toronto

The Adelphi Theatre, 1008 Dovercourt Rd., Ca. 1930s

Loews Theatre Toronto

Loews (Queen and and Yonge, later the Elgin) Ca. 1940s

Parkdale Theatre Toronto

The Parkdale (1605 Queen St. W), 1947

Eglinton Theatre Toronto

The Eglinton (when it was a movie theatre), 1947

Eglinton Theatre Toronto

The Eglinton, Interior (also 1947)

Nortown Theatre Toronto

The Nortown (875 Eglinton St. West), 1948

Nortown Theatre Toronto

The Nortown, Interior, 1948
Broadway Theatre Toronto

The Broadway (Queen and Bay), Ca. 1960s

Odeon Theatre Toronto

The Odeon (Yonge and Carlton), Ca. 1970s

Glendale Cinema Toronto

The Glendale (Avenue and Cranbrooke), Ca. late 1960s

Uptown Theatre Toronto

The Uptown (Yonge and Bloor), Ca. 1970s

Tivoli Theatre Toronto

The Tivoli (formerly the Allen), Ca. late 1960s

coronet theatre torontoCoronet Theatre (northeast corner of Yonge and Gerrard), Ca. 1970s

imperial theatre torontoImperial Theatre on Yonge St., 1972

imperial six theatre torontoImperial Six Theatre (the same location as above following renovations), 1975

Biltmore Theatre TorontoThe Biltmore Theatre on Yonge St, Ca.mid 1970s

hollywood theatre torontoHollywood Theatre on Yonge St. north of St. Clair, Ca. mid 1970s

Downtown theatre torontoDowntown Theatre, 285 Yonge St., 1980

University Theatre Toronto

University Theatre (Bay and Bloor), Ca. 1980s

Eaton Centre Cineplex

The Eaton Centre Cineplex, Ca. early 1990s

by Derek Flack via blogTO

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