City of Toronto Archives, Series SC 257-Fl.464. Photo was taken in 1946.
In the City of Toronto Archives, the floor plans of the Rex Theatre, at 1130 Queen Street East, are dated December 1914, the year the First World War commenced. The Rex was located on the northeast corner of Bertmount and Queen Street East. It contained 381 seats, in an auditorium with a central aisle only, and no balcony. The lobby was only 19 feet wide. The box office was on the right-hand side of the entrance, adjacent to the street. The facade was plain with a simple unadorned cornice, although above the windows on the second floor there was a faux-cornice with large dentils, the only architecture detailing on its otherwise plain facade. A synchronous sound system was added to the theatre in 1931.
In February 1938, the manager and owner of the license of the Rex Theatre was Sidney Goldstone. In September 1941, air-conditioning was installed. The following year, Kaplan and Sprachman were hired to renovate the theatre. The seating capacity was increased to 427 seats, which were covered with leatherette. It is likely that this was when the name of the theatre was changed to the Joy.
The Joy (Rex) Theatre after it ceased to be a movie house. A string of lights are mounted on the faux-cornice to illuminate the sign of the establishment. Photo, City of Toronto Archives.
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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)