The Glendale Cinema

Last week, the Toronto Star’s Peter Howell wrote about Toronto’s forgotten theatres, including the University, the Willow and the Glendale. Of the three, only the facade of the University remains — the rest of it is a Pottery Barn store.

The Glendale, a post-war theatre built by Nat Taylor’s 20th Century Theatres, opened with a flourish on December 1, 1947. It was a busy period in theatre-building — which had been prohibited throughout most of the war — so 20th Century, Famous Players, Odeon and all the independent exhibitors were busy building the biggest and sleekest moderne hard-tops in town.

A ‘new look’ indeed. Cinema architecture had come a long way since Thomas Lamb designed the ornate and palatial Loew’s Yonge St. Theatre in 1913.

Located north of Eglinton Ave. at 1661 Avenue Rd., the Glendale wasn’t the biggest, but it sure was a treasure for the suburban movie-goer, promoting its paved 200-car parking lot and hard-of-hearing equipment (a Toronto first!) as much as the comfort of its smoking loges and the brightness of its plastic screen.

After serving as a Cinerama site during the ’60s and long-time exhibitor of Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, it was torn down in the mid 1970s. It is now the site of a Nissan car dealership.

Bonus: An ad for the Glendale from April, 1948 still touting its “new look” tagline.

Image source: Toronto Daily Star, December 1, 1947.


  • bgm

    Also the subject of Neil Young’s unreleased song “Sad Movies,” which he played (and talked about the Glendale) at Massey Hall in 2007.

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