The Eglinton Theatre’s Elegant Neighbours
When adding photos to the Silent Toronto collection, I typically look for theatres and cinemas, but most importantly, neighbouring streetscapes showing some form of social activity.
Where did neighbourhood cinema patrons dine, shop, and in this case, deposit their paycheques?
So imagine my surprise when I found this gorgeous shot of the Eglinton Theatre‘s art deco neighbours.
Probably taken in the late 1940s, early 1950s, we see the north side of Eglinton Ave., east of Castle Knock Rd. The giant structure on the right is indeed Kaplan and Sprachman‘s famed Eglinton, which closed in 2002 and now operates as a banquet venue.
Here is the rare occasion when the elegance of a neighbourhood shop closely matches that of a cinema’s.
This StreetView shot shows that this strip of Forest Hill looks a little different today. Gone are the vitrolite facades, the Bank of Nova Scotia has moved to the east, the A&P building is now a clothing store, minus the wonderful deco trimmings.
It was a different scene in the post-war era: no yoga studios, organic grocery stores or Starbucks. Slightly to the west of the theatre, at 390 Eglinton (currently occupied by yet another clothing store) was Custom Sound and Vision — a picturesque “orthophonic parlour” if there ever was one. The photo of the record bar to the right was featured in the print programme for the 1955 “Spring Thaw” concert held at the Avenue Theatre, across the street, at Eglinton and Braemar.
Maxwell’s Mens Shop, with that wonderful signage, was a few doors to the east when the Eglinton opened in 1936. From the 1937 city directory, Sid’s Cleaners & Tailors, at 526 Eglinton, is one of the few businesses still in its original location.
And that lone man on the right side — is he a loan manager, a produce clerk, the booker at the Eglinton, or just a dude who likes to hang out near fire hydrants?