Valentine’s Day in the silent era

Chaplin’s The Circus, released at the tail end of the silent era, is arguably one of his funniest films, and was probably your best bet for a Valentine’s Day pick on Tuesday, February 14, 1928. If you and your date were feeling frisky, you could have opted for Gloria Swanson in Sadie Thompson at the nearby Regent — but either way, you’d want to catch an early screening, because the Valentine’s dance at Terrace Gardens…

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The Eaton Centre Cineplex

The Eaton Centre Cineplex

by Jesse Hawken They knocked down the above-ground parking lot at the Eaton Centre a few years ago and with it, the late, not particularly lamented Cineplex theatre that was situated at the base of the parkade. The Eaton Centre Cineplex was the first mega-multiplex theatre in the world. There were 18 screens when it opened in 1979, expanding to 21 a few years later. When the place first opened it was more of an…

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The Uptown Theatre

The Uptown Theatre

To cinephiles, the theatres we patronize are often just as important as the films they show. It might only be a building, but once an audience is at attention and the image is flickering, the place takes on an organic quality. Whether it’s a run-down rep house, a bicycle repair shop moonlighting as a cinema or the second floor of a restored hotel, these darkened spaces allow us to forget the outside world, and as…

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The Downtown Theatre

The Downtown Theatre

  by Hal Kelly “Going to the movies is my hobby. I go to other theatres, but the Downtown is my favorite. I like westerns, especially ones with Audie Murphy, but ANY good action or adventure picture usually gives me my money’s worth.” – Irvine Exley, 55, war pensioner The Downtown Theatre was located one short block south of Dundas at the north east corner of the largely vacant Yonge and Dundas Square right across…

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Loew’s Yonge St. Theatre signage

This week, I’m looking at vintage and iconic signs for OpenFile Toronto. Discussed are the neon spinning records at the former Sam the Record Man (including comments from its designer, Sam Markle), the Vesta Lunch, the former Suspect Video on Queen St. West, as well as the radioactive palm tree that is the El Mocambo at Spadina and College. But there are plenty more. Toronto’s cinemas — whether still active, downtrodden or re-purposed — also…

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