The Metro Theatre’s red hot opening night

The Metro Theatre’s red hot opening night

  At Bloor and Manning, a giant poster advertising Emmanuelle adorns the facade of the Metro, Toronto’s only surviving legitimate adult movie theatre. But long before it began showing porn in the 1970s, it served as a neighbourhood theatre for over three decades. Despite the PG-rated nature of the cinema’s opening night (April 7, 1939) double-bill, Delinquent Parents and Looking for Trouble, things got a little heated during the second showing of the programme when…

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The Westwood Theatre

The Westwood Theatre

  The Westwood Theatre opened on February 28, 1952, with Ontario Premier Leslie Frost in attendance for ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Located at Bloor and Islington, the 1000-seat movie house was one of several new Toronto theatres built to serve the urban sprawl of the post-war years. It was a rather toned-down affair when compared to the opulence found in other new downtown theatres like the University and the Odeon Carlton, which had opened a few years…

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The Pickford Theatre

The Pickford Theatre

By 1915, Toronto’s own Mary Pickford was arguably the biggest movie star in the world. Long before her name graced Canada’s Walk of Fame or her famous curls adorned a Canada Post stamp, her hometown paid testament to her success when a theatre at the north-west corner of Queen and Spadina was renamed the Mary Pickford Theatre. The theatre, later shortened to Pickford, had been known as the Variety for a few years and was…

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Merry Christmas from Shea’s Hippodrome

“He loved to fight and fought to love. His dames, like his flags, were many and soon forgotten.” Ladies and gentlemen — my future epitaph. The above ad is from the Toronto Star, December 22, 1930. Also playing in Toronto that week: Lon Chaney in The Unholy Three at the Royce (Edwin/Dupont); John Barrymore in Moby Dick at the Palace (Danforth/Pape); Amos & Andy in Check and Double Check at the Belsize (still around, as…

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Broken Blossoms at the Colonial Theatre

Broken Blossoms at the Colonial Theatre

“The pinnacle of art expressed on the silver sheet,” proclaimed an ad for D.W. Griffith’s Broken Blossoms on November 4, 1919. The film opened on November 10 at the regal Regent Theatre on Adelaide St., which N.L. Nathanson and partners had purchased in 1916, before the formation of Famous Players Canada Corporation in 1920. Weeks later, the film was playing in several other theatres, including the Colonial, located across from Old City Hall (pictured above,…

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