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Monthly Archives: June 2015

Toronto’s sinful Victory Theatre—new photos

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The Victory Theatre, which closed in 1975, an undated photo from the Toronto Archives.

Few theatres in Toronto elicit as many stories and memories as Toronto’s Victory Theatre, located on the northeast corner of Dundas and Spadina Avenue. The theatre was at one time an important part of the city’s live theatrical scene. Built in 1921, it opened as the Standard Theatre to present Jewish dramatic productions. In 1935 it was renamed the Strand, and at the end of World War II in 1945, its name was changed to the Victory. It was under this name that the theatre became famous and notorious, as it began featuring burlesque. In the years ahead, it offered exotic dancers and strippers. By modern standards, it was quite tame, but the antics on its stage outraged some of the citizens of Toronto. The police morality quads were continually raiding the theatre and arresting the girls and staff.

Many people today have fond memories of attending the Victory and if given the opportunity, enjoy relating them. It became a favourite hangout of students, who often lied about their ages to attend a performance. One of the show girls at the Victory caught the attention of the mayor of the city. His comments of condemnation created so much publicity for her that the students said that he was either her agent or the president of her fan club. The mayor was not amused.

M father often attended the Victory when he was in his 80s. My mother had long since passed away and having nothing to occupy his time in the evenings, he sometimes attended the theatre to watch the girls and listen to the MC’s raunchy jokes. He also liked Starvin’ Marvin’s at Yonge and Dundas, as it passed out free sandwiches to its patrons to enjoy as they observed the girls.

I recently discovered some photos taken by Roger Jowett of the interior of the Victory. They are all from the 1970s, and are contained in Series 881, File 177, in the Toronto Archives. They reveal how elegant the theatre once was, with its classical pillars, high ceiling, and rich ornamentations. The pictures show that the auditorium had stadium seating, its floor slanting upward steeply from the stage area. This was considered better than creating a balcony. This month (June 2015) I received confirmation that the auditorium of the theatre remains intact and is quite well preserved. The 2015 photos that were sent to me reveal that theatre remains much the same as in the 1970s pictures. 

A link to a more in depth post on this blog about the history of the Victory:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/the-sinful-victory-burlesque-theatre-at-dundas-and-spadina/

all coloured photos by Roger Jowett

View of the auditorium of the Victory. Photo by Roger Jowett, Toronto Archives.

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                           View from the stage of the Victory

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     View of the ceiling with the large design inset into the ceiling.

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                                    Close-up view of the ceiling.

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Stairway from the lobby that gave access to the seats in the upper section of the auditorium. The design in the ceiling is visible.

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                                   Candy bar in the lobby.

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          View of the stage from the top half of the auditorium’s seating.

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                     View of the stage of the Victory Theatre.

Map of Dundas St W & Spadina Ave, Toronto, ON M5T

                Location of the Victory Theatre.

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 Photodrome, 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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History of University College, University of Toronto

demol. of King's College, 1886, Ont. Archives I0021861[1]

King’s College in 1886, the year the building was demolished. Ontario Archives, 1002186(1).

The beginning of higher education in Upper Canada (Ontario) commenced in 1827 when a royal charter was granted by King George IV for the establishment of the University of King’s College. Bishop Strachan arranged for property to be purchased for the university in 1828. The institution was under control of the colonial officials and the Anglican Church. The site chosen was to the northwest of the town; it included the land that today encompasses Queen’s Park and the Provincial Legislature. Thomas Young was retained to design the building, and he chose the Greek Revival style, with a wide but narrow portico supported by large Doric pillars. Classes began in 1843, but until the King’s College building was ready to be occupied, student and faculty met in the Provincial Legislative building at Front and Simcoe Streets. The new building was completed in 1845.

To accommodate access to the University of King’s College from the city, University Avenue was constructed north from Queen Street to the building. This configuration remained until the 1930s, when University Avenue was extended south from Queen to Front Street. Another roadway was built from Yonge Street, westward to the College, and it became College Street.

In 1847, the administration of Robert Baldwin passed a bill that secularized King’s College King’s College. It became the first non-denominational university in Toronto. The law established the precedence of non-denominational institutes of higher learning supported by the provincial and federal governments. The following year, the Anglican Church created Trinity College in order to continue to offer degrees influenced by their religious principles. In 1849, King’s College changed its name to the University of Toronto. During the 1850s other colleges joined the University of Toronto. Victoria College (Methodist) from Cobourg relocated and amalgamated with University of Toronto in 1852, and the same year, St. Michael’s College (Catholic) joined.

btw. 1885-1889 - f1478_it0018[1]

University College (University of Toronto), photo taken between the years c. 1889. Toronto Archives, F1478, it0018 (1)

In 1856, the old King’s College building closed and it became a lunatic asylum for women. Construction on the new University College building, on the grounds of the University of Toronto commenced the same year and was officially opened on October 4, 1859. It was the university’s founding college, an impressive stone structure that reflected the importance of the university. Designed by F. W. Cumberland W. G. Storm in the neo-Romanesque style, University College was inspired by the buildings of Britain’s Oxford and Cambridge Universities. The architects of University College were also the designers of the parliament buildings in Ottawa.

In 1859, the university leased a section of its grounds to the City of Toronto for a period of 999 years. A public park (Queen’s Park) was created  and officially opened by the Prince of Wales (later King Edward V11) on September 11, 1860.

The University of Toronto continued to expand and progress. In 1884, women were first admitted as students. In 1885, Knox College (Presbyterian) joined the university and in 1890, Trinity College (Anglican) amalgamated with it as well. This college had formerly been located within the grounds of today’s Trinity Bellwoods Park. In 1886, the building that had housed the King’s College was demolished. In 1890, a disastrous fire gutted the interior of University College, though the Croft Chapter House and Cloister Wing remained undamaged. The building was restored and reopened in 1892.

Emmanuel College (Methodist) became part of the university in 1925, the same year the United Church of Canada was formed. Emmanuel College entered as a United Church of Canada seminary. The Laidlaw Wing was added in 1964, enclosing the quadrangle on the north. In 1968, the building was declared a National Historic site. In 1972, the structure was inspected and found to be in extremely poor shape. Threatened with demolition, the university’s alumni raised the funds to have it repaired.

Today, the University College remains a vital part of the University of Toronto and is open to the public to allow its historic halls to be viewed and appreciated.

1867-  College St, laid out by King's College, I0005303[1]

Gazing west on College Street from Yonge Street in 1867. Ontario Archives 10005303(1)

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South facade of the University College facing the quadrangle, June 2015.

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                     Centre section of University College, June 2015.

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Main doorway of University College (left) and the detailing above the doorway (right). 

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                        Addition on the west side of University College.

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Hallway inside the main entrance (left) and a close-up view of the ceiling (right).

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   Cloisters wing that resembles the buildings of England’s Oxford and Cambridge Universities.

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                The Cloisters Wing of University College.

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Gazing southward from inside the doorway of University College, across the quadrangle, in June 2015.

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 Photodrome, 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 Clyde (Avalon) Theatre

The Clyde (Avalon) theatre was built in the years after the Prince Edward Viaduct (Bloor Viaduct) was constructed across the Don Valley in 1919. During the 1920s, Danforth Avenue became the site of numerous movie theatres that were within easy walking distance of the neighbourhoods to the north and south of it. Though these theatres originally screened recently released films, as streetcar service improved along the Bloor/Danforth line, some patrons preferred to travel downtown to the larger theatres. In order to compete, many of the theatres along the Danforth began to feature double-bill shows of films that were a year or two old. However, those who wished to view more recent Hollywood releases without travelling downtown attended the Palace or Allen’s Danforth.

One of the popular smaller theatres on The Danforth was the Clyde. Located at 2923 Danforth Avenue, it was on the southeast corner of Luttrell and Danforth Avenue, one block west of Victoria Park. Built for Mr. F. Moss in 1926, it  lacked a balcony, but contained two aisles and almost 500 seats, installed by the Canadian Office and School Furniture Company. The seats were of wood, on a concrete floor, and there was no air conditioning. 

The architects were Kaplan and Sprachman, who designed many theatres in Toronto, including the Allenby at 1219 Danforth Avenue. The Clyde was a two storey structure, with offices, a rewind room, and the projection booth on the second floor. The marquee was a simple structure in a pre-Art Deco style that protruded over the sidewalk. There was a shop on theatre’s east side that was rented to defray the costs of operating the theatre.  

In 1930, the Clyde’s name was changed to the Avalon. In 1936, it was licensed to Max Stein, who also managed the theatre. In 1937, air conditioning was installed. Further changes occurred in 1943, when the store on its east side was removed and the seats in the auditorium were reconfigured. In 1949, the seats were again improved by the same firm as had installed them in 1926. In 1950, the box office was relocated closer to the sidewalk. I was unable to discover when the Avalon closed, but it was likely in the mid-1950s.    

               Map of 2923 Danforth Ave, Toronto, ON M4C 1M4

              Google map showing the location of the Clyde (Avalon) Theatre.

Note: Despite the information in the Toronto Archives, I was unable to locate a photo of the Clyde (Avalon) in either the Toronto or Ontario Archives. I discovered a photo on the internet that was labelled as the Avalon, but it was actually of the Allenby, also on the Danforth. If anyone has a photo of the Arcadian that they are willing to share, please contact me at tayloronhistory@gmail.com

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 Photodrome, 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 Variety (Arcadian) Theatre

Variety arcadian

The former branch of the Bank of Montreal on the northeast corner of Yonge and Queen Streets, the Variety Theatre on its east side (right-hand side of photo). 

When researching Toronto’s old movie theatre, I was surprised to discover that there had once been a theatre at 8-10 Queen Street East, on the east side of a former branch of the Bank of Montreal. During the 1950s, I travelled downtown many times to where the theatre was located, but do not recall ever noticing it. The bank building next door to it has survived, although it is no longer a bank; it now contains a coffee shop and an entrance to the Yonge subway line. The building that contained the Variety Theatre has been demolished, replaced by a modern office tower of glass and steel.

The Variety Theatre was located in a four-storey building constructed in the 19th century, perhaps the 1870s, as it was in the Second Empire style of architecture. It possessed a relatively plain facade and a Mansard roof with gabled windows. I was unable to discover the exact year the theatre opened, but it was likely prior to 1920, as it contained a stage and orchestra pit for vaudeville. There were almost 400 plush seats on a concrete floor, with three aisles. Pillars in the theatre’s auditorium obstructed the view of the stage from some of the seats, suggesting that the ground floor was renovated to accommodate the movie and vaudeville house. There was no air conditioning, and the lobby was small. The theatre was on the ground floor, offices and rented space on the storeys above. The theatre’s canopy protruding over the sidewalk, which contained the marquee was small, but the signage above it was two-storey’s in height.

In the late-1920s, the theatre’s name was changed to the Arcadian. During the latter years of the 1930s, it opened at 9 a.m. each day and closed shortly before midnight, a common practice for theatres that did not screen recently released films. The Toronto Star newspaper reported that on January 19, 1933, the doorman and the cashier at the theatre were arrested for fraud. The doorman failed to tear up all the tickets that patrons handed to him. He returned them to the cashier and they pocketed their value in cash, which they shared. The newspaper said that their scheme netted them $2.00 to $3.00 per day. This was a sizable amount of money during the Depression years.

The theatre was renovated in 1931 by V. L. Morgan and Company, architects. It was again renovated in 1936-1937 by J. W. Siddall, architect. The lobby was retiled and the box office faced with vitrolite tiles (opaque pigmented glass).

On March 30, 1939 three men were arrested on the roof of the theatre. While climbing up the fire escape with the intention of breaking into the building through the roof, a citizen phoned the police as he heard unusual noises at the rear of the theatre.

The Arcadian closed permanently in June 1954. After it closed, a women’s clothing store occupied the premises, employing the old theatre sign to advertise the shop. It is interesting to note that beneath the theatre is a subway station that was intended for the Queen Street subway line, which was never built. However, the vacant station remains today, a relic from the past that is sometimes used for film shoots.

Arcadian   (2)

Photo was taken c. 1930 (Toronto Archives F1278, It.164). The Variety Theatre’s marquee is the film “Laughing Lady,” released in 1929, starring Clive Brook and Ruth Chatterton. This was when the theatre screened recent films.

Arcadian      

The northeast corner of Queen and Yonge Streets in 1939, the Bank of Montreal on the left-hand side of the photo. The marquee and sign for the Arcadian Theatre is visible in the background. The streetcar is a Peter Witt car; streetcars of this type first arrived in Toronto in 1921. Toronto Archives, F1278, It.164.

Arcadian  2

Gazing east on Queen Street from a short distance west of Yonge Street on October 29, 1950, showing the construction of the Yonge subway. The sign for the Arcadian Theatre is evident in the background on the north side of Queen Street.

Variety Arcadian   (2)

This undated photo from the archives shows a women’s clothing store on the site of the old Variety Theatre, as well as a piano shop.

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 Photodrome, 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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Old Movie Theatres—tayloronhistory.com

/Shea's Hippodrome  DSCN0638

Links to posts that have appeared on tayloronhistory.com about Toronto’s old movie theatres since the blog commenced in 2011.

Academy Theatre on Bloor West at St. Clarens

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/photographs-from-the-1950s-of-sheas-hippodrome-theatre-located-on-the-site-of-torontos-new-city-hall/

Ace Theatre on Danforth (see Iola)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/the-iola-ace-regal-theatretoronto/

Ace Theatre on Queen near Bay

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/memories-of-torontos-ace-photodrome-theatre-on-queen-west

Adelphi Theatre (Kum Bac) on Dovercourt Road

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/21/the-adelphi-cum-bac-movie-theatretoronto/

Alhambra Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bathurst Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/05/torontos-old-movie-theatres-the-alhambra/

Allen’s Bloor Theatre, (now Lee’s Palace)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/torontos-old-allens-bloor-theatre-the-bloor-lees-palace/

Allenby on the Danforth

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-allenby-roxy-apollo-on-the-danforth/

Allen’s Danforth

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-danforth-music-hall-allans-danforth/

Apollo (Crystal) Theatre on Dundas West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/torontos-apollo-crystal-theatre-on-dundas-street-west/

Arcadian (Variety) Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/torontos-old-odeon-carlton-theatre-in-1956/

Auditorium Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-pickford-auditorium-theatre-at-queen-and-spadina/

Avalon Theatre on Danforth Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/sheas-hippodrome-theatre-where-the-nathan-phillips-square-exists-today/

Avenue Theatre (see Pickford)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-pickford-auditorium-theatre-at-queen-and-spadina/

Avon Theatre at 1092 Queen Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/12/10/torontos-lost-movie-theatresthe-avon-at-1092-queen-west/

Bay (Colonial Theatre) at Queen and Bay

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/28/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-bay-originally-the-colonial/

Bayview Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/26/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-bayview/

Beaver Theatre in the Junction area at Keele and Dundas Street West 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/19/torontos-beaver-theatre-on-dundas-st-west/

Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/19/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bell-lightbox-tiff/

Bellevue Theatre on College Street that became the Lux Burlesque Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/01/14/the-bellevue-theatre-lux-burlesque-theatre-on-college-street/

Belsize Theatre (see Regent)

Biltmore Theatre on Yonge, north of Dundas St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/01/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-biltmore-theatre/

Birchcliff Theatre on Kingston Rd.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/11/memories-of-torontos-birchcliff-theatre-on-kingston-rd/

Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on Bloor Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/09/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-bloor-hot-docs-cinema/

Bloordale Theatre (the State) on Bloor St. West, near Dundas Street. 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/04/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-bloordale-state/

Blue Bell (Gay) Theatre on Parliament Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/28/torontos-blue-bell-theatre-the-gay/

Bonita (Gerrard) Theatre on Gerrard East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/torontos-bonita-theatre-on-gerrard-east/

Brighton Theatre on Roncesvalles Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-brighton/

Brock Theatre (the Gem)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/17/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-brock-the-gem/

Cameo Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/12/05/torontos-old-cameo-theatre/

Cannon Theatre (see Ed Mirvish)

Capitol Theatre on Yonge at Castlefield

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/torontos-old-capitol-theatre/

Carlton Theatre on Parliament Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-carlton-on-parliament-st/

Casino Burlesque Theatre on Queen Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/06/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-infamous-casino-on-queen-st/ 

Cineplex Eaton Centre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/26/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-cineplex-eaton-centre/

Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theatre at Bloor and Bay

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/24/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-cineplex-odeon-varsity/

Cineplex Theatre at Yonge and Dundas Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/11/torontos-architectural-gems-cineplex-at-dundas-and-yonge-streets/

Circle on Dundas West (see Duchess)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-duchess-centre/

Circle Theatre on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/11/29/torontos-old-circle-theatre/

Clyde Theatre (Avalon)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/sheas-hippodrome-theatre-where-the-nathan-phillips-square-exists-today/

College Theatre at College St. and Dovercourt Rd.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/14/torontos-old-college-theatre/

Colonial Theatre (see Bay Theatre)

Colony Theatre at Vaughan Road and Eglinton Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/10/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-colony-at-eglinton-and-vaughan/

Community Theatre on Woodbine Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/07/22/old-movie-houses-of-toronto/

Coronet Theatre (Savoy) on Yonge St. at Gerrard

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/18/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-coronet-savoy-on-yonge-at-gerrard/

Crest Theatre (see Regent)

Crown Theatre on Gerrard St. East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/17/the-crown-theatre-toronto-on-gerrard-st-east/

Crystal Theatre (see Apollo)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/20/torontos-apollo-crystal-theatre-on-dundas-street-west/

Cumberland In Yorkville

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/22/torontos-old-cumberland-four-theatre/ 

Danforth Music Hall (Allen’s Danforth)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/14/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-danforth-music-hall-allans-danforth/

Donlands Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-donlands/

Downtown Theatre (now demolished) at Yonge and Dundas

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/26/torontos-lost-movie-theatresthe-downtown-theatre-on-yonge-st-south-of-dundas/

Duchess Theatre (Circle) on Dundas West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/07/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-duchess-centre/

Eastwood Theatre on Gerrard St. East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/18/torontos-eastwood-theatre-on-gerrard-st-east/

Ed Mirvish Theatre (the Pantages, Imperial and Cannon)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/27/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-ed-mirvish-theatre-pantages-imperial-canon/

Eglinton Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/28/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-eglinton-theatre/

Elgin Theatre (Loew’s Downtown)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/22/torontos-old-movie-housesloews-downtown-the-elgin/

Elgin/Winter/Garden Theatres on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/05/31/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-elgin-winter-garden-theatres/

Empire (Rialto, Palton) on Queen East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/22/torontos-empire-rialto-palton-theatrequeen-st-east/

Esquire (Lyndhurst) Theatre on Bloor Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/09/esquire-theatretoronto/

Eve’s Paradise (see Paradise)

Garden Theatre at 290 College Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/29/discovering-two-of-torontos-lost-movie-theatres/

Gay Theatre (see Blue Bell)

Gem Theatre (see Brock)

Gerrard Theatre (see Bonita)

Glendale Theatre on Avenue Rd.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/15/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-glendale-theatre-on-avenue-rd/

Golden Mile Theatre on Eglinton East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/08/torontos-golden-mile-theatre-on-eglinton-ave/

Grand Opera House on Adelaide Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2016/03/14/grand-opera-house-on-adelaide-street-toronto/

Grant Theatre on Oakwood Avenue near Vaughan Road

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/04/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-grant/

Greenwood Theatre (the Guild)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/15/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-greenwood-guild/

Grover on Danforth Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/18/torontos-old-grover-theatre/

Guild Theatre (see Greenwood)

Hillcrest Theatre on Christie Street, south of Dupont St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/01/remembering-torontos-hillcrest-theatre-on-christie-st/

Hollywood Theatre on the east side of Yonge Street, north of St. Clair Avenue.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/11/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-hollywood-theatre/

Hudson Theatre (see Mount Pleasant)

Imperial and Downtown Theatres on Yonge Street (archival photos)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/04/archival-photos-of-torontos-old-theatres-give-reality-to-historical-novel/Imperial

Imperial Theatre (see Ed Mirvish)

Iola (Ace, Regal) on Danforth Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/12/the-iola-ace-regal-theatretoronto/

Island Theatre on Centre Island

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/07/the-1950s-movie-theatre-at-centre-island-toronto/

Kent Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/15/the-kent-movie-theatretoronto/

Kenwood Theatre on Bloor St. West 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/01/torontos-old-kenwood-theatre-on-bloor-st-west/

King Theatre at College and Manning Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/20/torontos-king-theatre-on-college-st-at-manning/

Kingsway Theatre in the Kingsway Village on Bloor St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/27/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-kingsway-theatre-on-bloor-west/

Kum-Bac Theatre (see Adelphi)

KUM-C Theatre in Parkdale

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/14/memories-of-torontos-kum-c-theatre-in-parkdale/

La Plaza Theatre (the Opera House) on Queen Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/09/03/torontos-la-plaza-theatre-the-opera-house-on-queen-east/

La Salle Theatre on Dundas, near Spadina

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/25/torontos-la-salle-theatredundas-and-spadina/

Lansdowne Theatre on Lansdowne Avenue, north of Bloor St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/04/the-lansdowne-theatretoronto/

Loew’s Uptown Theatre (the Uptown)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/24/torontos-old-movie-housesloews-uptown/

Loew’s Downtown Theatre (see Elgin)

Lyndhurst Theatre (see Esquire)

Major St. Clair Theatre on St. Clair Avenue, east of Old Weston Road.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/04/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-st-clair-major/

Mayfair Theatre at Jane and Annette

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-mayfair

Metro Theatre at 679 Bloor West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/13/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-metro-at-679-bloor-west/

Mount Dennis Theatre on Weston Rd, north of Eglinton

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/27/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-mount-dennis-on-weston-rd/

Mount Pleasant (Hudson) Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/torontos-old-movie-theatrethe-mt-pleasant-hudson/

Nortown Theatre on Eglinton, west of Bathurst St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/16/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-nortown-at-bathurst-and-eglinton/

Oakwood Theatre on Oakwood Avenue, near St. Clair Avenue West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/28/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-oakwood-theatre-at-st-clair-and-oakwood/ Oakwood Theatre, Part II

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/01/02/torontos-old-oakwood-theatrepart-ii/

Odeon Carlton at Yonge and Carlton Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/08/09/torontos-great-old-theatresthe-odeon-carlton/

Odeon Carlton Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/08/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-odeon-fairlawn/

Odeon Danforth Theatre on the Danforth, near Pape Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/30/torontos-old-movie-theatresodeon-danforth/

Odeon Humber Theatre at Bloor and Jane Streets (now Humber Cinemas)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/30/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-odeon-humber-theatre/

Odeon Hyland Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/01/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-odeon-hyland/

Odeon Theatre On Queen West in Parkdale

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/23/odeon-theatre-in-parkdaletoronto/

Opera House (see La Plaza)

Orpheum Theatre on Queen St., west of Bathurst

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/02/07/torontos-old-movie-theatres-the-orpheum-on-queen-st-w/

Palace Theatre on the Danforth

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/torontos-old-movie-housethe-palace-theatre-on-the-danforth/

Palace Theatre on the Danforth near Pape Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/01/torontos-old-movie-housethe-palace-theatre-on-the-danforth/

Palton Theatre (see Empire)

Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/13/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-panasonic-theatre-victoria-astor-new-yorker/

Pantages Theatre (see Ed Mirvish)

Paradise (Eve’s Paradise)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/12/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-paradise-eves-paradise/

Paramount Theatre on St. Clair West, between Oakwood and Dufferin streets.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/26/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-paramount-theatre-at-1069-st-clair-ave-2/

Parkdale Theatre on Queen Street, near Roncesvalles

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/09/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-parkdale-on-queen-st-near-roncesvalles/

Photodrome (Ace) Theatre on Queen St. West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/08/16/memories-of-torontos-ace-photodrome-theatre-on-queen-west

Pickford (Auditorium, Avenue) Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/06/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-pickford-auditorium-theatre-at-queen-and-spadina/

Princess Theatre on King Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/03/22/torontos-old-princess-theatre/

Radio City Theatre on Bathurst, south of St. Clair.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/13/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-radio-city-theatre/

Regal Theatre (see Iola)

Regent Theatre on Mt. Pleasant Rd. (the Belsize, the Crest)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/21/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-regent-mt-pleasant/

Revue Theatre at 400 Roncesvalles Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-revue-theatre-at-400-roncesvalles-ave/

Rex Theatre (the Joy)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/20/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-rex-joy-on-queen-st-east/

Rialto Theatre (see Empire)

Rivoli Theatre on Queen Street West

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/15/torontos-old-rivoli-theatre-on-queen-west/

Royal Alexandra Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/05/18/torontos-historic-royal-alexandra-theatre/

Royal George Theatre on St. Clair W., west of Dufferin Street.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-royal-george-on-st-clair-near-dufferin/

Royal Theatre on Dundas Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/11/torontos-royal-theatre-on-dundas-street/

Royal Theatre (the Pylon) on College St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/30/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-royal-theatre-the-pylon/

Runnymede Theatre in the Bloor West Village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/09/03/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-runnymede-theatre-on-bloor-street/

Savoy Theatre (see Coronet)

Scarboro Theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/28/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-scarboro/

Scotiabank Theatre at Richmond and John Streets

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/torontos-architectural-gemsthe-modern-scotiabank-theatre/

Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre on Bay St. near Queen

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/07/04/sheas-hippodrome-theatre-where-the-nathan-phillips-square-exists-today/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/09/07/photographs-from-the-1950s-of-sheas-hippodrome-theatre-located-on-the-site-of-torontos-new-city-hall/

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/03/06/old-movie-houses-of-toronto-fond-memories-of-sheas-hippodrome/

Shea’s Victoria (The Victoria) at Victoria and Adelaide Streets 

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/torontos-old-sheas-victoria-theatre/

St. Clair Theatre, west of Dufferin Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/10/02/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-st-clair-theatre-near-dufferin-st/

State Theatre (see Bloordale)

Teck Theatre on Queen St. East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/07/25/torontos-teck-theatre-on-queen-st-east/

The Tivoli Theatre on Richmond Street East

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/torontos-old-movie-housestivoli-on-richmond-st-e/

Toronto’s first movie screening and its first movie theatre

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/03/13/torontos-first-movie-screening-and-first-movie-theatre/

Town Cinema on Bloor East, near Yonge Street

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/07/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-town-cinema/

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

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/02/24/the-opening-of-torontos-university-theatre-on-bloor-street/

Uptown 5 Multiplex Theatre on Yonge south of Bloor

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/11/25/torontos-old-movie-housesthe-uptown-5-multiplex-theatre/

Variety Theatre (see Arcadian)

Vaughan Theatre on St. Clair Avenue

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/05/15/torontos-lost-treasuresthe-vaughan-theatre-on-st-clair-ave/ 

Victoria (Shea’s Victoria)

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/04/17/torontos-old-sheas-victoria-theatre/

Victory burlesque and movie theatre on Spadina at Dundas:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/the-sinful-victory-burlesque-theatre-at-dundas-and-spadina/

Village Theatre on Spadina Road in Forest Hill Village

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2015/04/21/village-theatre-on-spadina-roadtoronto/

Westwood Theatre on Bloor Street West near Six Points

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/11/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-westwood-theatre/

The Willow Theatre on north Yonge St. in Willowdale

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-willow-theatre-at-5269-yonge-st/

York Theatre on Yonge near Bloor St.

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/06/17/the-york-movie-theatre-in-toronto/

Note: I welcome comments from reader who are willing to share their memories. As well, I always appreciate it when corrections or other opnions are offered. I can be contacted at tayloronhistory@gmail.com

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

To view posts about Toronto’s history and its heritage architecture:

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

Book also available at Chapters/Indigo, the book shop at the Bell Lightbox or University of Toronto Press at 416-667-7791

ISBN # 978.1.62619.450.2

 

Tags: ,

Historic Montgomery’s Inn—Toronto

DSCN7877

West facade of Montgomery’s Inn and the south extension, photo June 2015. 

Montgomery’s Inn at 4709 Dundas Street West, is on the southeast corner of Islington Avenue and Dundas Street. Built in the early decades of the 19th century, the reasons for its existence dates from the 1790s. After Governor Simcoe ordered Yonge Street cut from the forest wilderness, the next roadway built was Dundas Street (the Dundas Highway). Named after Henry Dundas, the British secretary of state and war in the Pitt Government, its purpose was to establish a link between the town of York and the settlements to the west. It would facilitate the transport of civilian and military supplies as well as soldiers if there were an American attack. In the 1830s, the Dundas Highway became a stagecoach route and inns were constructed at various point along the roadway to provide food and lodgings for travellers. One of the inns was Montgomery’s.

Thomas Montgomery, who immigrated to Canada from Ireland c. 1815, worked in the salt trade and was a surveyor. He thrived sufficiently that he was able to purchase about 400 acres of land to the northwest of the town. Located between Bloor and Dundas Streets, it was bounded on the east by today’s Royal York Road and on the west by Kipling Avenue. About the year 1830, he and his wife Margaret built an inn on the north boundary of the property. It was constructed of local stone, likely from the Humber or Islington River Valleys, as it was sedimentary stone, a type of rock formed by deposits of organic material and minerals, usually at the bottoms of rivers or lakes.

When the inn was built, its architectural style was “Classical,” but today it is usually referred to as Georgian. It’s north facade facing Dundas Street was symmetrical, with five large windows and a doorway containing a fanlight transom window above it, and sidelight windows on either side. The business prospered and in 1838, an extension was built on its east side, adding three more windows to the north facade and another door. A larger kitchen and more sleeping space for travellers were included, as well as a south wing. The drive shed attached to the south wing contained privies, shelter for carriages, and stables for horses, these facilities mandatory in Upper Canada (Ontario) to obtain an innkeeper’s license.

The inn now contained an enlarged kitchen, dining parlour for guests, ballroom, and added sleeping accommodations overnight guests, as well as living space for the Montgomery family. It is thought that when the east addition was built, the rough stones on the exterior were covered with stucco, which remained until 1967. Mrs. Montgomery died in 1855 and shortly thereafter, the inn closed. However, Thomas Montgomery continued to live on the premises. 

When Thomas Montgomery died in 1877, his son William inherited the farm and inn. He leased the property to tenant farmers, who along with members of the Montgomery family, farmed the land until the 1940s. In 1946, the Presbyterian Church purchased the inn and renovated it for their purposes. In 1958, the first meeting of the Etobicoke Historical Society were held within its wall.

Louis Mayzel bought the inn in 1962, and the same year sold it to the Etobicoke Historical Society for the same price as he had paid. In 1965, the Etobicoke Historical Board began managing the inn. For several years its fate was undecided, as they discussed various possibilities for the site. In the early 1970s, an application was submitted by the Steak and Burger restaurant chain to turn it into a steak house. Thankfully, in 1972 they decided to maintain it as a museum.  

When the restoration commenced, many of the interior walls were missing and there were no blueprints to guide the work. Careful examination of the walls and floors allowed them to discover where the interior walls had once stood. They chose to furnish the inn to reflect the period 1847-1850, when the inn was in its heyday. Artefacts placed in the rooms also represent this period. After the work  was completed, it reopened to the public in 1975.

Many museums located in historic properties attempt to create the impression that the original owners remain in residence. At Montgomery’s Inn, I believe that they have truly succeeded. A visit to the inn is highly recommended, as well as taking the time to enjoy an afternoon tea (light lunch).

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Sketch of the inn from the pamphlet that is given to those who visit the inn today.

Jan. 12, 1919  f1548_s0393_it15540a[1]

Montgomery’s Inn on January 12, 1919, Toronto Archives, F1548, S093, it.15540a. View is from the northwest of the inn.

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View of the inn from the northeast, taken the same day as the previous photo (Jan. 12, 1919). This photo is on display inside the inn.

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The sign that for years was positioned outside the inn is now displayed on a wall in the interior.

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View of the sitting room. No trace of the original wallpaper was found during the restoration, so wallpaper typical of the Victorian period was placed on the walls of this room. The doorway on the left leads to a small room that was likely used as an office.

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The desk and bookcase in the room that they believe was an office.

                 DSCN7889

The clock in the hallway outside the sitting room is thought to have been owned by the Montgomery family.

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         The dining parlour where guests at the inn were served meals.

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The bedroom where two of Montgomery’s sons (William and Robert) slept.

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          The bedroom of Margaret and Thomas Montgomery.

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The assembly room, where in the 19th century community meetings and dances were held, as well as a few court cases. Local 138 of the Orange Lodge also met in this room.

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                          The fireplace in the assembly room.

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              Bedroom for guest who stayed overnight in the Inn.

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(Left) the bar in the barroom, and (right) two clay pipes, a tobacco cutter and a chess board on the bar.

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                                       The fireplace in the kitchen.

Note: much of the information for this post was obtained from the pamphlet that is given to visitors, and Ken, one of the curators at the inn, who provided an excellent tour.

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 Photodrome, 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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History—Toronto’s Cecil Street Community Centre

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The Community Centre at 58 Cecil Street is situated on a residential street south of College Street, to the east of the ever-busy Spadina Avenue. The building has changed hands several times since it was constructed in 1891. Originally, it was the “Church of Christ (Disciples),” a protestant denomination that stressed New Testament teachings and maintained a strong mission outreach. Prior to moving into the location on Cecil Street, members had gathered in various locations, including the Occidental Hall at Queen West and Bathurst Streets. This building is now the CB2 Kitchen and Supply Store at 651 Queen West. The congregation also rented a church near Dennison Avenue and Queen Street.

The architects of the Church of Christ (Disciples) were Knox and Elliott, who had previously designed row houses and private residences throughout the city. The transformer station (Terauley Street Station), which still exists today, on the west side of Bay Street south of Dundas, was another of their commissions. Perhaps their most well-known design was the impressive Confederation Life Building on the northeast corner of Yonge and Richmond Streets. It too still exists today. Similar to the Confederation Life Building, when designing the Church of Christ, the architects chose the Romanesque Revival Style. Its heavy, fortress-like appearance contains large stones and solid shapes. The stained-glass windows facing Cecil Street have a large Roman arch above them. The stone foundations and the stones around east door resemble those of Toronto’s Old City Hall, another Romanesque Revival structure. Originally, the top of the 95-foot bell tower was pointed, and over the west doorway there was a massive stone portico. Both these features were later removed.               

                          Fonds 1244, Item 2366 

The church c. 1912, as it appeared when the congregation of the Church of Christ (Disciples) occupied the building. In this photo, the top of the tower is pointed. The tower is not situated parallel to the street and there is a large stone portico over the doorway at the base of the tower.  Toronto Archives, F1244, it.2366. 

The shape of the church was basically a 65-foot square. Constructed of pale yellow bricks, it contained large gables on the south and west sides, and a roof of slate-rock tiles. The interior of the church was spacious, the congregation seated beneath a high vaulted ceiling, supported by pillars ornamented with classical designs. The capitals on the columns were in the Greek Ionic style. Large stained glass windows allowed plenteous light into its interior. A schoolroom was added to the church in 1908 and an organ was installed in 1915. However, as the demographics of the area changed, the congregation dwindled, and the building was sold in 1925 for $20,000.

Next, the building became the Ostrovtzer Synagogue. The congregation had been founded in 1908, its name derived from a city in Poland. By the 1920s, many of its members had relocated from the Ward District, east of University Avenue, to the Kensington Market area. They considered the building on Cecil Street an ideal location, since most worshippers were able to walk to the services. The former church was altered when it became a synagogue. The bell  tower was replaced and realigned so that it was parallel to the street. It contained a small dome instead of a pointed top. The large portico at the base of the tower, over the west doorway, was removed. The building’s interior was also renovated to suit their purposes. Two large marble plaques were attached to the wall, inside the door, displaying the names of those who had contributed funds to purchase the building. In the 1950s, when the demographic of the community changed again, the Jewish congregation sold the building.

It was bought by the Catholic Diocese in 1966, and it became a centre to aid the Chinese community. The building changed hands again in the 1970s, when the Community Homophile Association occupied it as a centre for promoting gay rights. In 1978, it was purchased by the City of Toronto and it became a community centre. At some point in time, the windows of the north facade were greatly altered. Today, the community centre is busy every day and evening with activities that serve the needs of the residents in the Kensington area. 

Note: I am grateful to Torontoist.com for some of the information in this post, as well as the staff of the community centre who generously allowed me to photograph the interior of the building and discussed the history of the building. 

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     The entrance to the building, the tower above it,  in the summer of 2013.

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    Marble plaques on the wall installed in the 1920s by the Jewish congregation.

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Interior view of the large domed ceiling and the archways and pillars that support it. Photo taken in 2013.

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         Classical ornamentations on the pillars that support the dome.

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                         View of the interior from the balcony in 2013.

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                           The dome on the top of the tower, June 2015.

Cecil St. Centre, April 2013

                   The Cecil Street Community Centre in April 2013.

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                        The Cecil Street Community Centre in June 2015.

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

A link to view posts that explore Toronto’s Heritage Buildings:

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/01/02/canadas-cultural-scenetorontos-architectural-heritage/

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

Another book, published by Dundurn Press, containing 80 of Toronto’s old movie theatres will be released in the spring of 2016. It is entitled, “Toronto’s Movie Theatres of Yesteryear—Brought Back to Thrill You Again.” It contains over 130 archival photographs.

A second publication, “Toronto Then and Now,” published by Pavilion Press (London, England) explores 75 of the city’s heritage sites. This book will also be released in the spring of 2016. 

 

 

 

 

 

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