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Monthly Archives: July 2015

Panasonic Theatre—Part II—archival photos

The Panasonic Theatre is located on the east side of Yonge Street, a short distance south of Bloor Street. It has changed named several times in its long history. In April 2015, in the Ontario Archives, I discovered several photos and a sketch of the theatre that I had not seen before.

Victoria

The theatre commenced its life in 1919 as the Victoria, when two Second-Empire houses on Yonge Street were renovated to create a theatre. The above sketch reveals the plans for remodelling the houses to create a theatre. The drawing shows the windows of the two former houses. The plans included shops on either side of the theatre’s entrance to provide rental income to offset the expenses of operating the theatre.

Victoria   3

The theatre’s name was changed to the Embassy in 1932, as shown on the marquee in the above photo. Other names it has possessed include the Astor, Showcase, and Festival. In 1993 it became the New Yorker and was renovated to accommodate live theatre. It is presently named the Panasonic. The view in the photo gazes north on Yonge Street toward Bloor, from the corner of Isabella and Yonge Street. In the foreground, on the northeast corner of Yonge and Isabella is a shop of the Reilly Lock Company, founded in 1932.

Astor, New Yorker,

This photo shows the New Yorker theatre in 1993, when it featured “Forever Plaid,” a spoof of the male harmony groups of the 1950s. The facade of the theatre shown in the 1919-sketch remains intact in this photo. Even the shop on the north side of the entrance can be seen. To create the Panasonic Theatre, the building was demolished, except for the facade, which today is covered with metal meshing. However, it remains visible beneath it.

DSCN8243

                                The Panasonic Theatre in 2015.

For a link to a more in depth post about the Panasonic Theatre:

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

Map of 651 Yonge St, Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z9

                        Location of the Panasonic 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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Toronto’s old Community Theatre on Woodbine Avenue

Community    

The Community Theatre at 1202 Woodbine Avenue c. 1937.

The Community Theatre was the second building east of the southwest corner of Woodbine and Frater Avenue, midway between O’Connor Drive and Danforth Avenue. It opened during the Depression years, a small local theatre that contained less than 800 seats. Constructed in 1937, its relatively plain facade reflected the austerity of the Great Depression. Its architects were Kaplan and Sprachman, who designed many theatres in Toronto and throughout Canada. Despite the theatres plain appearance, its entrance and box office revealed hints of the Art Deco style that was popular in the 1920s. A small shop on the right-hand side of the entrance helped offset the costs of operating the theatre during economically difficult times. The theatre prospered during the 1940s, since it was surrounded by well-populated streets and there was no other theatre within close proximity. 

The building extended a considerable distance back from the sidewalk. Patrons entered the outer doors into a lobby, then through a second set of doors that gave access to the inner lobby, which was long and narrow. After 1947, a candy bar was located in the inner lobby, to the right of the doors. The auditorium was to the right off the lobby, aligned in a north-south direction. There was a central aisle to allow patrons to enter and depart the rows. A parking lot on the north side of the building helped boost attendance when more people acquired cars after the Second World War .  

The Community was one of the first theatres to be affected by the increasingly popular new media of television. It closed in 1955 and for a few years was a TV studio. The building was employed for other commercial purposes as the years progressed and still exists on Woodbine Avenue today.

Sept. 1964, real estate photo, $75,000

A real estate photo when the property was listed in 1964 for the price of $75,000. In this year it was no longer a theatre.

Community (site of)

Undated photo in the Toronto Archives, when the theatre had ceased to operate and was employed for other commercial purposes.

Note: there is an excellent photo of the Community Theatre on cinematreasures.org (google Community Theatre Woodbine Toronto)

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 streetcars—from Omnibus to Red Rocket

DSCN8012

One of Toronto’s newest “red rockets,” northbound on Spadina Avenue on July 10, 2015. 

When the city of Toronto was the small colonial town of York, people travelled by horseback, carriage, wagon, or on foot. Even after the city was incorporated in 1834, these methods of transportation prevailed. However, as the city expanded, these means became inadequate. As a result, in 1849, Burt Williams, a cabinetmaker and undertaker, decided to extend his services and transport the living as well as the dead to their destinations. He built several 6-passenger stagecoaches, which he named the Williams Omnibus Line. It commenced at the St. Lawrence Market, journeyed west on King Street, and then, north on Yonge to the town of Yorkville.

As Toronto’s population grew further, the Omnibus service also became inadequate. In 1861, the Toronto Street Railway Company (TSR), financed by a group of businessmen, commenced operating horse-drawn Hadden streetcars, capable of carrying many more passengers. The first streetcar route was the same as that of the Burt Williams Omnibus Line. The second route established was Queen Street, from the St. Lawrence Market to Ossington Avenue. The 30-year contract of the Toronto Street Railway Company was terminated in 1891.

Next, the Toronto Railway Company (TRC) was granted a 30-year contract to provide transportation services. The same year (1891), the city’s first electric-powered streetcars appeared on Church Street. However, as the city annexed more communities, such as Dovercourt and Earlscourt, the TRC refused to build tracks into the new districts, insisting that servicing these areas was not part of their mandate. Because the TRC’s contract did not terminate until 1921, in 1911 the City of Toronto created the Toronto Civic Railway Company (TCR) and became directly involved in owning and operating streetcars.    

During the years 1912-1917, TCR laid tracks along streets that the TRC were serving but refused to extend. The Danforth line was continued from Broadview to Luttrell, the St. Clair route connected between Avenue Road and Lansdowne Avenue, the Lansdowne line pushed as far south as the CPR tracks, streetcars added on Bloor Street between Dundas and Runnymede, and the Gerrard streetcars extended beyond Greenwood. To meet the needs of the longer routes, the company purchased about 70 new streetcars.

In 1921, the City of Toronto did not renew the TRC’s contract, deciding instead to increase its involvement in the streetcar system by forming the Toronto Transportation Commission (TTC). It inherited the streetcars that the Toronto Civic Railway, which they already owned, and bought the streetcars that the TRC possessed, as their contract had been cancelled. However, the TRC’s cars were in poor condition and needed to be retired. The TTC had foreseen this problems and several years earlier had ordered a fleet of new Peter Witt streetcars, which began arriving in the city in 1921. These were the ponderous square-shaped steel streetcars that became famous on the Yonge Street Line. In 1938, the TTC purchased PCC streetcars (President’s Conference Cars) and they soon became known as the “red rockets.”

In a plebiscite in 1946,  Torontonians voted in favour a subway on Yonge Street  and also on Queen Street. Construction on the Yonge line began in 1949. Unfortunately, the Queen Street line was cancelled as the federal government failed to provide the funding. Does this situation seem familiar? Canada’s first subway opened in 1954, between Union Station and Eglinton Avenue. The same year, the name of the company was changed to the Toronto Transit Commission.

The Peter Witt cars were retired in 1963, but the PCC cars continued until 1995. As these older models were phased out, the CLRV streetcars (Canadian Light Rail Vehicles), as well as an articulated version commenced operating.  In 2014, the first of the new streetcars began service on the Spadina line. These will eventually replace all the CLRV cars that remain in service as of 2015.  

Toronto_Street_Railway_Co__horse-ca[1]

Horse-drawn streetcars operated by the Toronto Street Railway Company in the 1890s. These cars were operated only in the summer as they were not enclosed. View gazes east along Queen Street East from Church Street. The St. Lawrence Hall is visible in the background.

Spad. 1890, Tor Ref.

A winterized streetcar on Spadina Avenue in 1890. Photo, Toronto Reference Library. In that decade, many impressive homes lined Spadina Avenue as it was an affluent residential street.

Yonge, north from King 1911

Electric-powered streetcars first appeared in 1891. This photo shows the cars on Yonge Street, c. 1900. They were essentially larger versions of the horse-drawn streetcar. View gazed north on Yonge from King Street.

looking north up Avenue Rd., Jan 1912

Avenue Road streetcars in 1912. Toronto Archives, F1231, it.1660. These are the same type of streetcars as in the previous photo.

St. Clair Strcar

Streetcars continued to increase in size. This streetcar was operated on St. Clair Avenue by the Toronto Civic Railway Company. Photo was taken in 1913, the year the St. Clair line opened. The streetcar is eastbound and was photographed near Wychwood Avenue.

oct. 30, 1928  s0071_it6396[1]

A Peter Witt streetcar on York Street on October 30, 1928, the Royal York Hotel under construction in the background. These cars commenced service in the city in 1921 and retired in 1963. Toronto Archives, Series 71, S0071, it6396.

20100926-70sCarlton[1] photo-cafletcher

A PCC streetcar heading eastbound on Carlton Street near Church Street. Maple Leaf Garden, the Odeon Carlton Theatre and Eaton’s College Street store are visible in the background. Photo, Ontario Archives. 

PICT0005

A PCC streetcar on Dundas Street West near Huron Street in Chinatown in 1970.

PCC car, Queen and Church St. 1970s

A westbound PCC Streetcar on Queen Street East at Church Street in 1970. 

DSCN6111

A Peter Witt streetcar at the Halton County Radial Railway Museum. Visitors to the museum are able to ride aboard these famous old cars.

1920s Peter Witt streetcar, interior

                     Interior of a Peter Witt streetcar at the museum.

1951 PCC Labour Day 2012

A westbound PCC streetcar in the Labour Day Parade in 2012, view gazing east along Queen West at Spadina Avenue. This streetcar is maintained by the TTC to aid tourism and is available for private hire.

                      April 2013     8

A CLRV streetcar on King Street East at Church Street, St. James Cathedral in the background.

April 2013

Articulated light rail vehicles (ALRV) on Queen Street, westbound near Yonge Street.

Queen line, May 2013

                 Interior of a ALRV on Queen Street.

King and Simcoe, 12 July 2013  DSCN0218

A CLRV westbound on Queen West at John Street in 2013, the Princess of Wales Theatre in the background.

Queen looking west at Bathurst, 2013

An articulated light rail vehicles (ALRV) eastbound on Queen Street West near Bathurst Street in July 2013. The marquee of the old Orpheus Theatre is visible on the right-hand side of the photo.

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 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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Paintings of Toronto “"in the good old summer time”

Toronto in the “good old summer time” usually included a trip to the Toronto Islands. On a hot summer day when I was a child, my mother, brother and I often boarded a ferry to cross the harbour to spend a day beside the cool water of the lake. My mother always chose a place at the water’s edge, a short distance to the east of the Centre Island ferry dock. After my father finished work, he joined us and we all had supper on a picnic table under the shade of the leafy willows. Potato salad, green salad, sliced cucumbers and tomatoes, and cooked ham were our usual fare. My brother and I always pleaded to delay our departure until the “next” ferry. We rarely succeeded, but they were glorious days! 

6.  16x20 -- 1989  Toronto Skyline

View of the Toronto skyline from the small beach where I paddled in the water as a child. The painting was completed in 1989, the skyline having changed greatly in the ensuing years. Acrylic, 16” by 20,” on stretched canvas.

DSCN8104

Returning from Centre Island on a hot July evening in 1994. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 8” by 10”.  Collection of V. Eggertson.

1. 8 x10-2002- Baldwin Street -

A summer day in the Kensington Market, on Baldwin Street, in 1982. The Seven Seas Fish Company no longer exists. When I was a child, the market contained chickens in wire cages and wooden crates where long-necked geese poked out their heads. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 8” by 10.”

212.  24x36  1979  Dundas West and Huron St.

View gazing west along Dundas Street from Huron Street in 1979. The church in the distance, on the southwest corner of Dundas and Spadina is where the Dragon City Mall is now located. The Garden Place Restaurant served the best chicken and shrimp lo mein that I have ever tasted. Painting is 24” by 36” on stretched canvas.

                    51.  8x10  1998 Eglinton Flats, poplars

Poplar trees and shadows on a July evening in 1998, on Eglinton Flats near Jane Street and Eglinton Avenue West. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 8” by 10.” 

10.  16x20  1990  Humber River

View gazing south on the nature trail on the east bank of the Humber River in 1990, a short distance north of the bridge on Eglinton Avenue. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 16” by 20”.

17.  18x24 - 1998 Humbewr Valley Wild Flowers

A jungle of wild flowers in the Humber Valley in 1998. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 18” by 24.”

52.  11x14  1989  Humer River

Humber Valley in 1989, gazing toward the west bank, a short distance north of Eglinton Avenue. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 11” by 14.”

60.  12x16  1992  house 535 Lauder Avenue

My boyhood home at 535 Lauder Avenue, as it appeared in the 1940s. Lauder Avenue is north of Rogers Road and west of Oakwood Avenue. Our house is to the left of the grocery store. Painted in 1992, acrylic on stretched canvas, 12” by 16.” 

110.  18x24  1991  Cayuga going thru Eastern Gap

The “Cayuga” in the 1940s, steaming through the Eastern Gap on its way across Lake Ontario to Port Dalhousie. This painting was created from archival photos. At least once during the summer, my family went across the lake on the ship. Painted in 1991, acrylic on stretched canvas, 18” by 24.”

115.  8x10  1992 Houses, Ward's Island, south side

Cottages on the south side of Ward’s Island. I spent a July day in 1992 over at the Islands and returned on the ferry with the completed painting, acrylic on stretched canvas, 8” by 10.” 

117.  16x20  1999 Humber Valley

Two boys fishing in the Humber River in 1999. View is from the east bank, north of the bridge on Eglinton Avenue. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 16” by 20.”

                  116.  16x20  June evening in 1993, St. James, King East,

Taking advantage of the long evenings during the first week of July in 1993, I sat in the park to the east of St. James Cathedral and painted the view before me. The bandstand in the park created the foreground. The details on the tower were completed the following day. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 16” by 20.” 

169.  16x20  1981

View from Harbourfront in 1981, acrylic on stretched canvas, 16” by 20.”

168.  16x20  1994

View of Woodbine Beach in 1994, acrylic on stretched canvas, 16” by 20.”

172  16x20  1983

View of the St. Lawrence Hall from Front Street in 1983, acrylic on stretched canvas, 16” by 20.”

                     185  16x20  1993  St. James Cathedral

View of St. James Cathedral in 1993, from the alley between King East and Front Streets. Acrylic on stretched canvas, 16” by 20.” 

150.  18x24  1989 Spadina Ave, west side, south of Dundas

Gazing south on Spadina Avenue, south of Dundas Street in 1989. Acrylic on Stretched canvas, 18” by 24.”

145.  16x20  massonite  2005 Spadina and King W.

View gazing west along King Street from Spadina Avenue in 2005. The Backpackers’ Hotel is the building painted blue. The building is now (2015) being restored and will reopened at prestigious office spaces, with a restaurant on the ground floor. Acrylic on Masonite, 20” by 24.” 

209  16x20  July 1, 1994  Bloor and Runnymede

View gazing west on Bloor Street at Runnymede Road in the Bloor West Village on July 1, 1994.

250  8x10  2001  Queen and Spadina

Gazing east along Queen Street West from Spadina Avenue in 2001, acrylic on stretched canvas, 8” by 10.”

               175  16x20  2006  massonite

Gazing south on McCaul Street from near Dundas Street in 2006, acrylic on Masonite, 16” by 20.” 

71.  20x24  2011 Queen and Spadina

View of the southeast corner of Spadina and Queen West in 2011, acrylic on stretched canvas, 20” by 24.”

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 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 Academy Theatre on Bloor Street West

Academy

The Academy Theatre at 1286 Bloor Street West was one of Toronto’s earliest movie theatre. Plans for it were submitted to the city in November 1914. Located on the northwest corner of Bloor Street West and St. Clarens Avenue, it was typical of many structures built in the Edwardian period. It possessed a symmetrical design, with three sided columns (pilasters) decorating the south facade and ornate terracotta tiles in a central position on the second-floor level. I suspect that the building existed when the theatre applied for the building permit, and that the ground floor was renovated to accommodate the theatre. The floors above the theatre were rented to other tenants. There was a small shop on the right-hand side of the entrance to the theatre.

The theatre was modest in size, as it accommodated only 410 patrons, all on the ground floor as there was no balcony. The seats of mohair and leather were plush and they were fastened to a wood floor. Two aisles allowed access to the rows. Because of the decade in which it was built, the theatre likely contained a stage and space for a few musicians to provide music for the silent films and vaudeville acts. Originally, the box office was inside the small lobby, but in 1936, it was relocated to the outside, at the edge of the sidewalk. During these renovations, the number of seats was reduced to 391. There were minor alterations in April 1942, the contract awarded to Mr. A. Wilson. In 1953, the wood flooring was replaced with concrete. In 1962, the theatre was converted from 35mm film to 16mm. At the time, William Kolas was the owner.

I was unable to discover the year the theatre closed, but it was listed on the real estate market in September 1958 for $4900. The listed price was likely for the theatre only, not the entire building. However, the theatre continued to screen films for several more years.

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     Auditorium of the Academy Theatre, photo from the Ontario Archives 

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View of the Academy Theatre  from the rear of the auditorium, gazing toward the screen.

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View from the lobby, gazing toward the doors that gave access to the auditorium.

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View of the theatre when it was listed on the real estate market. Both films advertised on the marquee were released in 1960.

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      The building that housed the Academy after the theatre had disappeared.

                    Map of 1286 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M6H 1N9

                                   Location of the Academy 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.  

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   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 125 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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