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, to the left, on a particularly snowy day). One of Toronto’s first picture palaces, the Colonial predates the construction of the Loews/Winter Garden and Madison Theatres. Later known as the Bay, it closed in 1965, a few years before this photo was taken with The Small World of Sammy Lee on the bill. An office tower now sits in its former location.

– Big thanks to Ryerson’s Paul Moore in helping identify the theatre after I found it in a flea market.


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