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Monthly Archives: December 2014

Shea’s Hippodrome opens in Toronto in 1914

                Shea's, 1921

`                        Photo from City of Toronto Archives.

When Shea’s Hippodrome opened in Toronto on April 27, 1914, it was the largest vaudeville theatre in Canada, with a seating capacity of 3000. Within a few years, it was considered among the top four vaudeville houses in all of North America. It was located at “Queen and Teraulay Streets.” Teraulay Street was later renamed Bay Street, connecting it with the section of Bay Street that stretched south from Queen Street to the harbour. Today, Bay Street extends from Davenport Road, south to the harbour. The site of the old theatre is now a part of eastern section of Nathan Phillips Square. The Hydro sub-station on the west side of Bay Street, a short distance south of Dundas Street West is still named the Teraulay Station.

On inauguration day at the Hippodrome, the theatre featured a series of vaudeville acts entitled, “A Night in an English Music Hall,” supplemented with “leading photo plays” (silent films). Music was provided by The Invisible Symphony Orchestra. The theatre’s ad in the Toronto Star proclaimed, “Nothing cheap but the prices.” The matinee tickets were 10 and 15 cents and in the evening they were 10, 15 and 25 cents. There were continuous performances from 12 noon to 11 pm, with three shows daily.

In 1922, a Wurlitzer organ was installed, which had been built in Tonawanda New York at a cost of $55,000. When the Hippodrome was demolished in 1957, the organ was sold to Maple Leaf Gardens for the price of $2000. The first time the organ was played in The Gardens was on December 20, 1958. When I was a teenager, the great organ was considered an integral part of the hockey games televised by the CBC on “Hockey Night in Canada,” the program sponsored by Imperial Oil.

In 1963, the instrument was bought by the Toronto Theatre Organ Society for $3,800 and placed in storage in the Imperial Theatre on Yonge Street. In 1970 it was relocated to Casa Loma. The first concert in the grand hall of the castle was on February 12, 1974.  Visitors today are able to see the organ, located in an alcove in the south wall of the Grand Hall.

Note : information about the Wurlitzer organ was obtained from Mike Filey’s “Toronto Sketches.” 

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View of the Hippodrome’s auditorium from the balcony. This photo was taken shortly after the theatre opened in 1914.

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The auditorium of the Hippodrome, the Wurlitzer organ on the left-hand side of the stage. This photo was likely taken in the 1950s, after the auditorium had been renovated. The box seats on either side of the stage had been removed as the theatre was now exclusively a movie house.

                        DSCN4369

                   Lobby of the Hippodrome and stairs to the balcony.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

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 relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Light box Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto, Press Distribution: 416-667-7791

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), the Photodome, 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)

 

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Toronto’s Old Doric theatre

Doric, Jan. 18, 1941  G&M 71415

The Doric theatre, January 18, 1941, photo from the Toronto Archives, Globe and Mail Collection, 71416

The Doric theatre at 1094 Bloor Street West was located close to Gladstone Avenue, on the north side of Bloor, a short distance east of Dufferin Street. The year that it opened is difficult to ascertain. The web site world-theatres.com indicates that it opened in 1919, although the collection of John Chuckman contains a postcard that advertises Mary Pickford playing in a film for Famous Players at the Doric in 1910. However, I must admit that the 1919 date seems the most likely. For certain, when the Doric opened, it was among Toronto’s earliest theatres.

     Map of 1094 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1M8

The building containing the Doric Theatre was unusual, as it was only one storey in height. It was a small venue, possessing only 527 seats, so was truly a neighbourhood theatre that depended for patrons on those who lived within walking distance of it. Although I discovered no proof, the theatre most likely offered vaudeville and silent films as this was the standard format during the decade when it opened. To facilitate vaudeville, it required a small stage. I should imagine that the acts offered at the Doric would have been second rate or beginning performers, since the audience was too small for the management to be able to afford first-rate acts.

When it originally opened, its facade possessed two ionic columns that supported a portico. Beneath the portico, recessed back from the sidewalk were the entrance doors. Because the theatre was a single-storey building, there were no residential apartments above it to generate extra income to offset the expenses of the theatre. Also, as the building was quite small, squeezed between other structures, there was no space for rental shops either. Thus, the sole income of the theatre was derived from ticket sales. It only remained profitable as long as the movie house was well attended.

The façade of the theatre changed greatly in the decades ahead. By the 1940s, a new canopy had been installed, which contained the marquee. Its design was typical of many Toronto theatres during the 1940s and 1950s. However, there was no large electric sign above the marquee as there was no second storey. In its place, the word “Doric” appeared in bold letters on either side of the canopy. These signs were clearly visible at night when the marquee was ablaze with light.

The box office was in the centre of the entranceway, the theatre’s doors only three or four feet from the sidewalk. On either side of the doors were display spaces advertising the daily attractions as well as future films.

The Doric closed its doors in 1955, one of the first theatres to be shuttered because of the decrease in attendance caused by the increasing popularity of television. Today, there is a coffee shop on the site.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

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 relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto, Press Distribution: 416-667-7791

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), the Photodome, 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)

 

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Toronto’s old Royce Theatre

                 DSCN4937

The Royce Theatre c. 1920, gazing west along Dupont Street. A gasoline pump is on the sidewalk to the west of the theatre. A person wonders what has attracted the attention of the young boy in the foreground. Photo from The City of Toronto Archives.

Researching the old Royce Theatre was difficult, since not much information was available. However, from the photos and the floor plan of it in the Toronto Archives I was able to piece together some data about the old theatre.

I was unable to discover the exact year it opened, but I would estimate that it was in the teen years of the 20th century or possibly as late as 1920. Originally, its address was 315 Royce Avenue, hence the theatre’s name. However, after the city joined together Royce Avenue with several others roadways, it was named Dupont Street. The address of the theatre then became 1619  Dupont Street. Located on the south side of the street, it was between Edwin and Franklin Avenues, a few blocks east of the junction of three main arterial roadways—Dupont, Annette and Dundas West. Because the theatre was within walking distance of the theatres in the Junction District (at Dundas West and Keele Streets), it competed for patrons with theatres such as the Mavity and Beaver.

Map of 1619 Dupont St, Toronto, ON M6P 3S8

Dupont Street was built parallel to the CPR Railway tracks, located not far to the north of it. In the early decades of the 20th century, factories located on the street as it possessed easy access to the rail lines. However, though it developed as an industrial area, many shops also lined the street. They supported the residential neighbourhoods to the north and south of it. The Royce Theatre was built to service the cinematic needs of these neighbourhoods.

The community also possessed relatively easy access to downtown Toronto, since there was a streetcar line on Dupont Street. It was replaced by a trolley line, which I remember riding in the 1950s. From the trolley window, I recall seeing Royce Dupont Poultry and Egg Market, but being a teenager at the time, I did not realize that the word Royce was derived from the former name of the street. Today, a bus route services Dupont Street. 

The Dupont Theatre was originally a vaudeville house, although its stage was too narrow to accommodate moveable scenery. The vaudeville performances were supplemented with silent movies. In front of the stage was space for a small group of musicians. The auditorium possessed 587 plush seats, but no balcony. There was a wide centre section of seating and and two side-aisles, one on either side of it. The lobby was small, with office and storage space on either side of it.

The brick facade was symmetrical, with restrained but attractive detailing. Its design reflected the styles of the early years of the 20th century, rather than the mid or late 1920s. There were large display spaces facing the street, to the left and right of the entrance doors. The windows on the second-storey did not appear to be for residential apartments as they were quite small and not evenly distributed. The sign above the marquee was large and flashy, with enormous vertical letters indicating the name of the theatre. The canopy containing the marquee was rectangular and plain.

A candy bar was installed in the Royce in 1947, in the centre of the lobby, just 2 feet inside the front doors. This was unusual, but the small size of the lobby necessitated this location. I suppose the management did not wish to remove any seats as the theatre was small, every seat needed to generate income.

I did not discover the year the theatre shut its doors, but it was likely in the late 1950s or early 1960s. After it closed, the site became the home of the Canadian Jamaican Centre.

DSCN4939

Sketch of the facade of the Royce Theatre. The blank spaces between the columns to the left and right of the doors were likely for posters advertising films that were showing and future attractions. There does not appear to be a canopy over the doorway. City of Toronto Archives.

                  DSCN4938

Sketch of the floor plan of the theatre. The stairs near the right-hand side of the lobby likely allowed access to the washrooms in the basement. Sketch from The City of Toronto Archives.

DSCN4940

The site of the Royce Theatre on Dupont Street when it was the Canadian Jamaican Centre. Photo, City of Toronto Archives.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

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 relates anecdotes and stories of the author and others who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[1]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

Book also available in Chapter/Indigo, the Bell Lightbox Book Store and by phoning University of Toronto, Press Distribution: 416-667-7791

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), the Photodome, 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)

 

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Toronto’s old Capitol Theatre

f1231_it1485[1] Dr. Bull, 1933

   The Capitol in 1933, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1231, It. 485 (1)

The Capitol Theatre opened in 1918. Located at 2492 Yonge Street, it was in a building block on the northwest corner of Yonge and Castlefield Avenue, six blocks north of Eglinton. It featured vaudeville shows and silent films. Information on cinematreasures.org states that it was built for Mr. McCelland, who arrived in Canada from Kingston Jamaica.

Map of 2492 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4P 2H7

                                    Map from Google, 2014

Mr. McCelland hired the architect J. M. Jeffery to design his theatre. Above the marquee was a two-storey window, topped with a Roman arch, and Corinthian pilasters on either side of it. The cornice was unadorned, the overall facade of the building almost symmetrical. An article in the Toronto Star (February 2000) stated that a source had indicated that the Capitol was originally named the York Eglinton, but its name was changed as there was already a York Theatre at Yonge and Bloor, which had opened in 1914.

Capable of seating 1300 patrons, the Capitol was a considerable size for a venue that catered mainly to local residents, though it did attract customers from other areas as the Yonge Streetcar line rumbled past it. It possessed a stage to accommodate vaudeville and a space near the stage for musicians. It occupied the full three floors of the section of the building where it was located. However, the remainder of the building contained residential apartments on the second and third floors and shops on the ground-floor level.

In 1924, a balcony was added and more shops were included in the space on the first-floor level. In 1933, the theatre was converted for exclusively screening films. Further renovations were done in 1946 and 1947, but no candy bar was added to avoid competition with the Laura Secord shop to the left of the theatre’s entrance. This was possibly in the terms of the candy shop’s lease. However, in 1954  a confection bar was finally added to the Capitol. In 1957, a fire in the stage area broke out at 4:50 pm, but it was not serious and the theatre was back in operation by 7:20 pm.

The theatre was originally independently owned but in the years ahead it was managed by Famous Players, though they did not own the building. In the late-1990s, it was a second-run movie house, featuring films that were not recent releases. Eventually it was taken over by the Festival Theatres, but they were unable to turn it into a profitable enterprise.

The Capitol shut in doors in November 1998, and for a few years it remained empty. It was eventually purchased and after a two-million dollar renovation, opened as an event venue named the Capitol Event Theatre. Though the seating had been removed, the  high ceiling, stage and ornate interior detailing was maintained. A wall was removed to expose the projection room, which became a bar. There was second bar in the balcony.

Those who remember the Capitol Theatre may lament its demise, but it was saved from demolition and it has been restored to reflect some of its former glory. The same may be said of the Eglinton Theatre.

  1278-38

View of the auditorium of the Capitol from the balcony. Notice the quality arm chairs. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 38

1278, 38

View from the rear of the main-floor level of the Capitol, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 38.

1278- 38

Outer lobby and entrance door of the Capitol, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 38.

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Capitol with the film “Wings of the Morning,” released 1937.  City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 38.

                      881-350-

                  Capitol Theatre, with film “Women in the Wind,” released 1939.

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                              The Capitol Theatre c. 1946.

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                                                                           The Capitol c. 1947.

                                    Capitol 1134-131

     Undated photo of the Capitol, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1135, file 131

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

To view previous blogs about old movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

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.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852[2]

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

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), the Photodome, 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)

 

      

 

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Toronto’s old Cameo Theatre

Cameo 1104-101

The Cameo Theatre in 1934. Photo, Toronto Archives, Series 1104 File 101. This is the only photo of the Cameo that I have been able to locate. 

The Cameo Theatre located at 989 Pape Avenue, was near Floyd Avenue, north of the Danforth. It is one of the theatres included in John Sebert’s book, “The Nabes,” and is featured on the cover of his book. 

             Map of 989 Pape Ave, Toronto, ON M4K 3V6

                                               Map from Google, 2014

The theatre opened on November 22, 1934, during the Great Depression. It was deigned by Kaplan and Sprachman in the Art Deco style. It resembled the Allenby Theatre on Danforth Avenue and the Bayview Theatre in Leaside, both created by the same architectural firm. At the top of the marquee of the Cameo Theatre was a small oval-shaped design depicting the profile of a woman—a “cameo.” This decorative detailing gave the theatre its name. Its auditorium contained 743 seats.

The façade was relatively plain, with several bold horizontal rows of bricks that were darker in colour. The bricks divided the façade into sections. The cornice was not ornate, but in typical Art Deco fashion possessed a centre section that was elevated. The box office was in a central position at the edge of the sidewalk, with another decorative cameo inserted above the box-office window. The entrance doors were recessed back a short distance and there were shops on either of the theatre’s box office, facing Pape Avenue. There were rental apartments on the second-floor level, above the theatre’s auditorium.

The Cameo was the first investment project of Sam Strashin. His family remained in the possession of the theatre and operated it until it closed in 1957, when it was sold to Loblaws. Today, the building still exists but is a banking institution.

Note. The author is grateful to cinematreasure.org for some of the information in this post.

To view the Home Page for this blog: https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/08/links-to-historic-architecture-of-torontotayloronhistory-com/

To view previous blogs about old movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/09/links-to-toronto-old-movie-housestayloronhistory-com/

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.  

                      cid_E474E4F9-11FC-42C9-AAAD-1B66D852

   To place an order for this book:

https://www.historypress.net/catalogue/bookstore/books/Toronto-Theatres-and-the-Golden-Age-of-the-Silver-Screen/9781626194502 .

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)

 

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