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Tag Archives: toronto’s old movie theatres

Memories of Toronto’s Beaver Theatre on Dundas St. West

Series 1278- file 63  photo 1947

The Beaver Theatre in 1947, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 63

The district that became known as the Junction was originally a rural farming community to the northwest of Toronto. It centred around Keele and Dundas Street West. The name “Junction” was derived from the fact that it was at the “junction” of four railway lines. The southern terminal of the old Weston Road streetcars, which travelled north to the town of Weston, was at the Junction. The West Toronto Railway Station was on the east side of Keele Street, several blocks north of Dundas Street. The old stone railway bridge remains in use today, and continues to span Keele Street, although the railway station was demolished decades ago.

The since the Junction was a transportation hub, more and more people built homes in the area. It eventually became the town of West Toronto, which was annexed to the city in 1909. With the increase in population, more businesses gravitated to the area as well. It was not long before someone realized that the town needed a movie theatre. The man who decided to fulfill this need was William Joy. In 1907, he had opened a small theatre for live performances, named the Wonderland. It must have been profitable, because in 1913, William Joy closed the Wonderland and opened the Beaver Theatre, which cost $60,000. His new theatre was to show “moving pictures” and to feature vaudeville acts. He managed the new theatre himself. It was he who insisted that the Beaver have a fire-proof picture curtain, and personally supervised its installation.   

The Beaver was located at 2942 Dundas Street West, near Pacific Avenue. It was an impressive structure, especially considering that it was remote from downtown Toronto, where the demographics provided more possibilities for patrons. It was one of the first structures in Toronto purposely built for showing  “moving pictures” (the Bay Theatre was the first, built in 1909). The Beaver’s architect was Neil G. Beggs, and the neoclassical facade that he created was quite ornate. Its symmetrical design included an ornamented cornice, with an impressive row of dentils (teeth-like designs) below it. The facade contained smooth, glossy terracotta tiles that were glazed with a light-yellow patina. The lower lobby and foyer possessed alternate mirrored panels with frames of terracotta and rouge-noir marble. The auditorium’s colour scheme was antique ivory and green, and it possessed a large mural of flying cupids.The seating capacity was approximately 800, including a narrow balcony that was 50’ by 176,’ decorated with various shades of bronze. There were box seats along the sides of the auditorium, the box seats closest to the stage less than 50’ from the actors.

In 1918, the theatre was taken over by the Allen brothers, who owned the Allen Danforth and the the Allen Theatre at Adelaide and Victoria. In later years, the theatre was operated by  the B&F chain and was renovated and modernized. The box seats were removed, after the theatre was exclusively employed for movies.

In 1961 the theatre was closed, being one of the first to succumb to the onslaught of television. 

1278  File 63  Photo 1923   National Archives for all  

Gazing west along Dundas Street West in 1923. The Beaver Theatre is on the right-hand (north) side of the street. It would appear that in the photo the streetcar tracks were being laid.

1930

             Lobby of the Beaver in 1930, National Archives, Ottawa.

                    taken in 1930  DSCN4507

The lower lobby in 1930, and the railing above it that surrounded the upper lobby. Photo from the National Archives, Ottawa.

photo  1930

                                     Second-floor lobby in 1930

dated 1947

        The lobby in 1947, City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 63

Photo is in 1947

                                    Stairs to the upper lobby in 1947.

1930

Auditorium of the Beaver in 1947. The box seats on the side walls had been removed by this date.

1947

The screen and stage area in 1947, viewed from the rear of the balcony.

Note: photos are from the National Archives, Ottawa, except for the 1923 photo, which is City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 63

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

To view previous posts on this blog about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

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

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 .

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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Toronto’s old Grover Theatre

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The Grover Theatre in the 1920s, gazing east along Danforth Avenue. City of Toronto Archives, Series 488, File 2960-2

The Grover Theatre opened its doors in the early 1920s, its name derived from the local telephone exchange. The above photo was taken shortly after its opening. Located at 2714 Danforth Road, it was on the north side of the street, west of Dawes Road. It was a two-storey structure, with apartments on the second floor that contained large windows looking out on busy Danforth Avenue. The Grover’s symmetrical neoclassical facade was relatively unadorned, including the cornice, but stone trim in a few selected places gave it an impressive appearance. The stone trim below the cornice contained a row of dentils. Shops on either side of the theatre’s entrance were part of the building; they were rented to provide extra income for the theatre’s owner.

The district was economically booming in the 1920s, after the Prince Edward Viaduct was completed across the Don Valley in 1919. When the Grover opened, there was already a row of theatres stung out along the Danforth, and it was the most easterly of them at that time. Being an attractive venue, and appealing mainly to local residents, the Grover was immediately successful. Its marquee was unpretentious, which suited a theatre of its size. However, the sign above the marquee was disproportionately large, visible for a considerable distance at night when the towering structure pierced the night sky.

The theatre became a part of the B&F chain in the 1930s. I did not discover much information about this theatre in the archives. However, there is a report that in 1935 three lads attended a Saturday matinee during their summer holidays to see Gary Cooper in the Paramount Studio’s film, “Lives of the Bengal Lancers.” Apparently the film made a lasting impression, since years later, the boys remembered seeing the film at the Grover. Many of us who attended Toronto’s old movie theatres forever link certain films to specific movie houses. Personally, I will forever associate “Gone With the Wind” with Loew’s Downtown (the Elgin).

In May 1963, the theatre was for sale for $70,000. It did not sell, so in 1965 it was again placed on the market at the reduced selling price of $52,000. In this year, it had already closed and the canopy was devoid of advertisements for movies. The theatre was purchased as a place of worship for a church congregation. Finally, it was converted into a nightclub. It is difficult to determine how much of the original building remained after it was renovated for this purpose. Likely, only the walls were retained.

                         DSCN3436

The Grover Theatre in 1939, its bright lights splitting the night scene on the Danforth. In this year, the marquee had been enlarged from the days when the theatre opened in the 1920s and the sign above it also altered. City of Toronto Archives, Series 880, File 350.

                   DSCN3503

                       The theatre when it became an evangelical church.

Grover

The theatre when it was for sale for $52,900 in 1965. It was no longer screening films when this real estate photo was taken.

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                  The site of the Grover after it became a nightclub.

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

To view previous posts on this blog about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

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

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

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  

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

   To place an order for this book:

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

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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The Kent movie theatre—Toronto

DSCN0086

  View looking north on Yonge Street from St. Clair Avenue in the 1940s. Photo, City of Toronto Archives,

The Kent Theatre was on the west side of Yonge Street , a short distance north of St. Clair. It was a theatre that I passed by many times when I attended either the Odeon Hyland or the Hollywood Theatres. Located at 1488A Yonge Street, it was one of the earliest theatres that opened in the Deer Park District of Toronto. Plans for its construction were submitted to the city in November of 1914, and it was to be named the Queen’s Royal Theatre. Its name was most appropriate for the decade, as loyalty toward the royal family and Great Britain were strong. Also, in August of the year that the theatre was being planned, the First World War commenced.

When the theatre finally opened, it contained 536 leatherette seats, two aisles and no balcony. It had water-cooled air for comfort during Toronto’s humid summers. The floor was of wood and tiles. The box office was located in the centre of the lobby. In 1934 the theatre was renovated by Kaplan and Sprachman, and perhaps this was when its name was changed to the Beverley. The name Beverley was retained as late as the year 1942. There is very little information in the archives about this theatre, and I was unable to discover when its name was changed to the Kent 

During the 1950s, the Kent screened B-movies or films that had been released several years earlier. I was able to view these films at theatres closer to home—the Colony and the Grant. As a result, although I remember the Kent clearly, it was a theatre I never attended. I was unable to find the year that the theatre closed.

DSCN0088

In this photo, likely taken in the 1920s, the theatre is named the Beverley.

DSCN0085

Looking north from Yonge and St. Clair, the old Yonge streetcars visible, as well as the marquee of the Kent.

SC 303A-74

The intersection of Yonge and St. Clair, gazing north, the Kent Theatre on the left-hand side (west) side of the street.

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

To view previous posts on this blog about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

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

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

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[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 .

Theatres Included in the Book:

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

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Toronto’s old movie theatres

Sheas-Hippodrome_thumb2  DSCN0638_thumb6

The wonderful old movie theatres of my youth have mostly been demolished. However, a few have survived destruction by being recycled for other commercial purposes. For example, the old Runnymede Theatre on Bloor Street West was a Chapters/Indigo Book Store, although  it is now slated to become an outlet of a major drug store chain. Other old theatres survived as venues for live theatre, such as the Pantages (Imperial, Ed Mirvish) and the Elgin (Loew’s Downtown). A few others, such as the Eglinton, have been transformed into special event venues. 

As a teenager, I spent many happy hours within the grand old theatres. Sometimes it was to escape the humid heat of a Toronto summer, as the movie theatres were air-conditioned at a time when only the very wealthy were able to afford such a luxury. In the 1950s, other than theatres and bowling alleys, very few air-conditioned places were open to the public, other than the Eaton and Simpson stores at Queen and Bay Streets.

As young boy, I knew that I was growing up when my parents allowed me to travel downtown to the great movie palaces on Yonge Street or those within close proximity of the city’s main drag—the Imperial, Shea’s Hippodrome, Odeon Carlton, Loew’s Downtown, Tivoli, Loew’s Uptown and the University. Sometimes, my friends and I also ventured into the smaller theatres that offered more than one feature film—the Downtown, Biltmore, Rio, and Coronet. The three theatres at St. Clair and Yonge were also within our reach—the Hollywood, Odeon Hyland, and the Kent. The transportation link that joined all these theatres were the square-shaped Peter Witt streetcars that rattled up and down Yonge Street. Of course, every neighbourhood possessed smaller theatres, often referred to as the local “gas house” or “nabes,” which were within walking distance of our homes. The Colony and Grant Theatres fulfilled this role in our neighbourhood. The Grant was where I attended my first Saturday-afternoon matinee. 

Those of us who experienced the Saturday afternoon matinees will never forget them. For the grand sum of 10 cents we saw two feature films, a cartoon, serial (cliff-hanger), trailers (previews), and a news reel. The popcorn was an added attraction, at a cost of 5 cents. Because I enjoy sharing my memories of the old theatres of yesteryear, I started placing posts about them on my blog that primarily deals with Toronto’s heritage architecture (tayloronhistory.com). Most of the research information on the posts was derived from the files of the City of Toronto Archives and the Toronto Research Library. Most photographs are also from these sources, although I possessed a few pictures of my own, taken in the late 1950s.

I welcome comments from those who read the posts and are willing to share their memories. As well, I always appreciate it when corrections are offered. I can be contacted at tayloronhistory@gmail.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

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

Links to posts about the movie houses of Toronto—past and present:

Capitol Theatre on Yonge at Castlefield

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

Cameo Theatre

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

Circle Theatre

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

Hillcrest Theatre on Christie Street

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

The Hillcrest Theatre on Christie Street, south of Dupont St.

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

The Teck Theatre on Queen Street East

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

The 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/

Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre on Bay near Queen Street

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

The Golden Mile Theatre on Eglinton East

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

The Birchcliff Theatre on Kingston Rd.

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

The KUM-C Theatre in Parkdale

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

The Bonita (Gerrard) Theatre on Gerrard East

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

The Apollo (Crystal) Theatre on Dundas West

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

The Bay (Colonial Theatre) at Queen and Bay

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

The Photodrome (Ace) Theatre on Queen St. West

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

The Teck Theatre on Queen St. East

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

The Odeon Theatre On Queen West in Parkdale

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

Empire (Rialto, Palton) on Queen East

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

The Rivoli Theatre on Queen Street West

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

King Theatre at College and Manning Streets

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

Eastwood Theatre on Gerrard St. East

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

The Crown Theatre on Gerrard St. East

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

The Rivoli on Queen St. West

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

The Iola (Ace, Regal) on Queen St. East

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

The Royal Theatre on Dundas Street

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

The 1950s Island Theatre on Centre Island

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

The Esquire (Lyndhurst) Theatre on Bloor Street West

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

The Kenwood Theatre on Bloor St. West 

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

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

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

Adelphi Theatre (Kum Bac) on Dovercourt Road

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

The Blue Bell (Gay) Theatre on Parliament Street

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

The La Salle Theatre on Dundas, near Spadina

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

The 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/

The York Theatre on Yonge near Bloor St.

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

The Grover on Danforth Avenue

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

The Kent Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

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

The College Theatre at College and Dovercourt

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

The Brighton Theatre on Roncesvalles Avenue

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

Cineplex Eaton Centre

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

The Oxford Theatre on the Danforth

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2014/02/21/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-oxford/

The Rex Theatre (the Joy)

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

The Brock Theatre (the Gem)

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

The Greenwood Theatre (the Guild)

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

The Duchess Theatre (Circle) on Dundas West

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

The Mayfair Theatre at Jane and Annette

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

The Allenby on the Danforth

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

The Scarboro Theatre

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

The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

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

The Bayview Theatre

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

The Carlton Theatre on Parliament Street

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

The Metro Theatre at 679 Bloor West

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

The Mt. Pleasant (Hudson) Theatre

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

The Palace Theatre on the Danforth

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

The Paradise (Eve’s Paradise)

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

The Pickford (Auditorium, Avenue) Theatre

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

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

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

The Donlands Theatre

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

The Royal Theatre (the Pylon) on College St.

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

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/

The 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/

The Regent Theatre on Mount Pleasant (the Belsize, the Crest)

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

The Tivoli Theatre on Richmond St. East

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

The Glendale Theatre on Avenue Rd.

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

The Danforth Music Hall (Allen’s Danforth)

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

The Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street

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

The Westwood Theatre on Bloor Street West near Six Points

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

The Parkdale Theatre on Queen Street, near Roncesvalles

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

The Town Cinema on Bloor East, near Yonge Street

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

The Alhambra Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bathurst Street

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

The Palace Theatre on the Danforth near Pape Avenue

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

The Odeon Danforth Theatre on the Danforth, near Pape Avenue

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

The 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/

The Uptown 5 Multiplex Theatre on Yonge south of Bloor

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

The Odeon Carlton Theatre

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

The infamous Casino Burlesque Theatre on Queen Street

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

The Garden Theatre at 290 College Street.

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

The Grant Theatre on Oakwood Avenue near Vaughan Road

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

The Odeon Hyland Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

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

Loew’s Uptown Theatre (the Uptown)

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

The 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/

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

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

The St. Clair Theatre, west of Dufferin Street

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

The Odeon Humber theatre at Bloor and Jane Streets (now Humber Cinemas)

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

The 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/

The Oakwood Theatre Part II

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

The Biltmore Theatre on Yonge, north of Dundas St.

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

The Coronet Theatre on Yonge St. at Gerrard

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

The Nortown Theatre on Eglinton, west of Bathurst St.

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

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

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

The 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/

The 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/

The Colony Theatre at Vaughan Road and Eglinton Avenue

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

The Runnymede Theatre in the Bloor West Village (now a Chapters/Indigo Book Store)

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

The Eglinton Theatre

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

The magnificent Odeon Carlton at Yonge and Carlton Streets

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

The Revue Theatre at 400 Roncesvalles Avenue

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

The Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theatre at Bloor and Bay

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

The “Bloor Hot Docs Cinema” on Bloor Street West

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

The Vaughan Theatre on St. Clair Avenue

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

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/

The ultra-modern Scotiabank Theatre at Richmond and John Streets

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

Cineplex Theatre at Yonge and Dundas Streets

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

The Ed Mirvish Theatre (the Pantages, Imperial and Cannon)

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

The 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/

The 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/

The 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/

Old movie houses of Toronto

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2011/06/27/old-movie-houses-of-toronto/

The 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/

The 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/

Archival photos of the Imperial and Downtown Theatres on Yonge Street

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

The now vanished Avon Theatre at 1092 Queen Street West

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

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/

 

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Toronto’s old movie houses—the Paramount Theatre at 1069 St. Clair Ave.

Paramount 1100-N-97

The Paramount Theatre was on the south side of St. Clair Avenue West, between Lauder and Glenholme avenues. (Photo City of Toronto Archives, Series 488, It.1100). I remember the Paramount Theatre quite clearly, although the above photo does not quite match with my memories, which are from the late-1940s and early-1950s, when its attractive facade was decidedly shabby. In the above picture, the two films listed on the marquee were both released in 1935, so the photo likely dates from 1936, the year the Paramount opened. It was named after the famous Paramount Studios in Hollywood, but had no connection to it. However, in the 1930s, its name created a glamorous image of the glories of the silver screen. The year the Paramount opened, it was licensed to J. B. Goldher and Garson Solway. The auditorium had a concrete floor and its ticket booth was in the lobby. It possessed two aisles, with the following seating pattern of — five seats on the left, an aisle, nine seats in the centre section, another aisle, and five more seats on the right-hand side. The air-conditioning was “water-washed cooled.”

During the 1950s and 1960s, with the advent of television, the Paramount operated on an increasingly tight budget. It attempted to lure customers by offering three feature films for a single admission price. It mainly screened B-movies, cowboy and crime films, and adventure films, accompanied by cartoons, newsreels, and serials. The latter were short films that ran consecutively for several weeks and were also referred to as “cliff-hangers.”

In 1951, the front of the theatre was remodelled by Herbert Duerr. Perhaps this was when the tower was added above the marquee.

When the theatre ceased to operate as a theatre, it became an appliance store. I remember this well, as my friends and I often stopped to watch the television sets in the window. The medium was in its infancy, and stores placed sets in their windows for people to view. As well, they mounted speakers outside the stores to provide the sound. It was an excellent form of advertising. The black and white pictures were grainy and of poor quality, but we thought they were marvellous.  We dreamed of having such a marvel in our living rooms. When the appliance store was sold, the building was listed by the Toronto Real Estate Board at a price of $100,000. 

           Paramout   4

Architect’s drawing for the Paramount Theatre, dated 1936. Drawing from the Toronto Archives.

Paramount 488-11-01-98

The Paramount Theatre in 1936, looking east along St. Clair Avenue toward Oakwood. Photo, City of Toronto Archives, Series 488-11-01-98.

Paramount (2)

The site of the old Paramount when it became a furniture and appliance store. The tower that was above the marquee of the theatre was recycled by the store. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, from the Toronto Real Estate Board.     

DSCN1472

     The site of the old Paramount Theatre at 1069 St. Clair Avenue in 2013.

DSCN1474   DSCN1473

                     The site of the Paramount Theatre in 2013.

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

To view previous posts about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

https://tayloronhistory.wordpress.com/2013/12/18/torontos-old-movie-theatrestayloronhistory-com/

To view links to Toronto’s Heritage Buildings

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

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.  

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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 .

      Theatres Included in the Book

Chapter One – The Early Years—Nickelodeons and the First Theatres in Toronto

Theatorium (Red Mill) Theatre—Toronto’s First Movie Experience and First Permanent Movie Theatre, Auditorium (Avenue, PIckford), Colonial Theatre (the Bay), thePhotodome, Revue Theatre, Picture Palace (Royal George), Big Nickel (National, Rio), Madison Theatre (Midtown, Capri, Eden, Bloor Cinema, Bloor Street Hot Docs), Theatre Without a Name (Pastime, Prince Edward, Fox)

Chapter Two – The Great Movie Palaces – The End of the Nickelodeons

Loew’s Yonge Street (Elgin/Winter Garden), Shea’s Hippodrome, The Allen (Tivoli), Pantages (Imperial, Imperial Six, Ed Mirvish), Loew’s Uptown

Chapter Three – Smaller Theatres in the pre-1920s and 1920s

 Oakwood, Broadway, Carlton on Parliament Street, Victory on Yonge Street (Embassy, Astor, Showcase, Federal, New Yorker, Panasonic), Allan’s Danforth (Century, Titania, Music Hall), Parkdale, Alhambra (Baronet, Eve), St. Clair, Standard (Strand, Victory, Golden Harvest), Palace, Bedford (Park), Hudson (Mount Pleasant), Belsize (Crest, Regent), Runnymede

Chapter Four – Theatres During the 1930s, the Great Depression

Grant ,Hollywood, Oriole (Cinema, International Cinema), Eglinton, Casino, Radio City, Paramount, Scarboro, Paradise (Eve’s Paradise), State (Bloordale), Colony, Bellevue (Lux, Elektra, Lido), Kingsway, Pylon (Royal, Golden Princess), Metro

Chapter Five – Theatres in the 1940s – The Second World War and the Post-War Years

University, Odeon Fairlawn, Vaughan, Odeon Danforth, Glendale, Odeon Hyland, Nortown, Willow, Downtown, Odeon Carlton, Donlands, Biltmore, Odeon Humber, Town Cinema

Chapter Six – The 1950s Theatres

Savoy (Coronet), Westwood

Chapter Seven – Cineplex and Multi-screen Complexes

Cineplex Eaton Centre, Cineplex Odeon Varsity, Scotiabank Cineplex, Dundas Square Cineplex, The Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

 

 

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