The Guild Theatre, formerly the Greenwood, in 1937. Photo, City of Toronto Archives, Series 488-1123.
Plans for the Greenwood Theatre were submitted to the City of Toronto in December of 1914, three months after the First World war broke out. The Greenwood was at 1275 Gerrard Street East, on the south side, a short distance west of Greenwood Avenue. The theatre applied to the city again in 1926 to enlarge the premises and carry out extensive renovations. It is possible that this is when the two-storey building in the above photograph was erected. It was an intimate theatre, containing slightly over 400 seats. The projection booth possessed a steel floor to make it fire resistant. There was no balcony.
In December 1936, the Greenwood Theatre was again renovated, this time by Kaminker and Richmond. The alterations were completed in May 1937. It is likely that this is when its named was changed to the Guild. The seating capacity was increased and all the chairs in the theatre were changed to self-raising chairs, allowing patrons to enter and depart the aisles easier. As well, two rooms at the front of the theatre were removed to increase the size of the foyer. A concrete floor was installed and the ticket office was encased in vitrolite (opaque glass). There was only one aisle, positioned in the centre of the auditorium.
The Greenwood in 1937, after its name was changed to the Guild. The box office, covered with vitrolite (opaque glass) is visible.
The Guild c.1953
The Guild in 1953, when it was for sale for $15,500.
Interior of the Guild. City of Toronto Archives.
The site of the Guild Theatre in 1973, after it ceased screening films. The property was for sale in this year for $100,000. Photo, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 59 (3)
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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)