Toronto cinema memories

One of our readers reminisces on the movie theatres of his youth:

“My childhood-adolescent theatres were all the downtown palaces, the Towne, University; nabes Victory on Spadina (pie eating contests Saturday matinees), Garden at College & Robert, Bellevue on College & Brunswick (Superman serials). When we moved north:  the Vaughan, Radio City, Nortown, Eglinton, Christie, St.Clair, Paramount (small house on St. Clair near Dufferin)… plus others.

I was a very precocious kid and started taking streetcars every Saturday by myself or with my younger sister when I was about 6 or 7. Distinct memories of which pictures I saw at what venue: City Lights at the Towne  Cinema around that time, Cinderella at the Odeon Toronto, Wizard of Oz (re-release) at the Uptown… Samson and Delilah at the Imperial…and many more including the stage shows at the Casino: Billy deWolfe from the Warner’s Doris Day flicks, Huntz Hull and Gabe Dell of the Bowery Boys… Johnnie Ray; Christine Jorgenson singing (soprano I presume), capitalizing on her sex change operation (!)”

Above image of the Nortown Cinema (875 Eglinton Ave. W, near Peveril Hill St.) courtesy of the Archives of Ontario (AO 37978-1). The cinema opened on March 17, 1948 and was demolished in 1974. In its place now stands this monstrosity.


  • I should add that this thread features a number of shots of the Nortown as well as some photos of its demolition in 1974.

  • Larry

    I worked there in the last few months of it’s operation as an usher. It was one of my first jobs with Famous Players that also took me around to other theatres now gone : University / Palace / 4 Seasons Sheridan / TD Centre. What an exciting position to have as a young man and so many friends suddenly came out of the woodwork. I was sooooo cool working in a movie theatre!

  • Larry

    TO ERIC – thanks for the pix! I have one I took of the exterior I will find and post.

  • Larry, looking forward to seeing the photo. Please email it to me at!

  • Larry,

    Thanks for sharing! It’s a shame it’s no longer there. I totally get why it was demolished, but its replacement is an eyesore. It would really give that intersection a little more character.

  • Ron

    In the 50’s I would go every Saturday to watch the 3 stooges….

Leave a Comment