The building at 239-241 Spadina Avenue, a short distance south of Dundas Street, is presently being renovated and restored. It was built in 1910 for the Consolidated Glass Company under the directorship of John W. Hobbs. The company had been formed in 1893 by a merger of several firms. It imported and sold plate glass, as well as sheets and ornamental glass. It also sold painters’ and glaziers’ supplies.
The 1910 structure was designed by William Steele, an industrial architect whose office was in Pittsburgh. The five-storey Beau-Art building was constructed of red sandstone and bricks, at a cost of $60,000. The usual source of red sandstone in that decade was the Credit River Valley. The ornamentations attached to the building were made of terra cotta tiles. Unlike the terra cotta tiles on the CTV Building at 299 Queen Street West, the tiles retain their original colour, rather than being given an ivory glaze. The entrance to the building contains an enormous cast iron gate. Inside the gate was a small portico and four steps leading to the staircase. The interior of the structure has pine beams and wooden floors. The original facade was altered to create a central staircase leading to the upper floors.
The building as it appeared prior to the alterations to create a central entrance. Originally, the only entrance was on the left-hand (north) side of the structure.
The original doorway (left) and the facade as it appears today with its central doorway
The rich ornamentation on the building, created with terra cotta tiles.
The original staircase The interior being renovated, with the pine beams visible.
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Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.
To place an order for this book:
Theatres Included in the Book
Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto
Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)
Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons
Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown
Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s
Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede
Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression
Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro
Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years
University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema
Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres
Savoy (Coronet), Westwood
Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes
Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)