Archival photos of Toronto’s old theatres give reality to historical novel

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Imperial and Downtown Theatres on Yonge St.      The Yonge Theatre (today the Elgin)

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            University Theatre on Bloor St.          Odeon Carlton on Carlton St., east of Yonge 

                         The above photos are from the Toronto Archives.

The historical/fiction novel “Arse Over Teakettle” relates a tale of Toronto during the 1940s, the golden age of Hollywood films and is sister medium, the radio. The story is about a family trying to cope with the horrors of the Second World War, when the reports of casualties from the frontlines of battle appeared each day in the newspapers. Food shortages, clothing drives, and preparing parcels to send to the troops were daily activities.

The central character of the book is a a young boy, Tom Hudson, and the reader views the events of the times through his eyes. The book recreates the city of the 1940s with amazing accuracy, seventy archival photos of the adding to the impression that this fictional tale actually occurred.

The movie houses, films, and radio programs of the day play an important role in the unfolding of the plot, since Tom and his friends are addicted to them. The Saturday afternoon matinee at the local theatre, and the evening radio programs were central to their lives. Their other passion was learning about the “secret activities” of the older boys. Scenes where Tom and his best friend, Shorty Bernstein, explore their sexuality are particularly amusing. After reading these sections, the old laneways of Toronto may never be viewed the same.

“Arse Over Teakettle” is the first book of The Toronto Trilogy.” The second book of the trilogy is also available in both paperback and electronic version. Readers who enjoy exploring Toronto’s yesteryears may particularly enjoy these books, both of which are over 500 pages. The third book in the trilogy will be available next year.

Link to the book “Arse Over Teakettle”:

Link to more information about “Arse Over Teakettle” :



“Arse Over Teakettle – Book One

of the The Toronto Trilogy” is

available at any Chapters/Indigo store

and can be ordered on-line in

electronic versions.


To view the Home Page for this blog :

To view blogs about the old movie houses of Toronto

The Bellevue Theatre on College Street that became the Lux Burlesque Theatre

Old movie houses of Toronto

Attending the movies during Toronto’s golden age of cinema

The Odeon Carlton theatre on Carlton St., east of Yonge St.


The Victory burlesque and movie theatre on Spadina at Dundas:

The Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre on Bay St. near Queen

Attending a matinee in the old movie houses of Toronto during the “golden age of cinema”

The University Theatre on Bloor St., west of Bay Street.

Archival photos of the Imperial and Downtown Theatres on Yonge Street

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