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.
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 [email protected]
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To view previous blogs about movie houses of Toronto—historic and modern
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.
To place an order for this book:
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)