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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Canadian horror cinema turns 50

If a modern-day horror film were shot in the Royal Ontario Museum, a director might be inclined to set some action in the museum’s bat cave. But the revered exhibit didn’t exist 50 years ago when Julian Roffman directed The Mask, a psychological 3-D horror film which made use of the museum’s iconic totem pole. Premiering at Toronto’s Downtown Theatre on November 10, 1961, it ushered Canadian cinema into the horror genre established by Hollywood…

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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…

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The Ace Theatre

The Ace Theatre

  Al Jolson was no stranger to Toronto. From 1913 until a few years before his death in 1950, the King of Broadway called Toronto his second home, cavorting up and down his custom-made runway at the Royal Alexandra Theatre several times. While appearing in movies and on radio throughout the ’30s and ’40s, his stage appearances dwindled, but his fans could always see him on the big screen. The above photo of the Ace…

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The Westwood Theatre

The Westwood Theatre

  The Westwood Theatre opened on February 28, 1952, with Ontario Premier Leslie Frost in attendance for ribbon-cutting ceremonies. Located at Bloor and Islington, the 1000-seat movie house was one of several new Toronto theatres built to serve the urban sprawl of the post-war years. It was a rather toned-down affair when compared to the opulence found in other new downtown theatres like the University and the Odeon Carlton, which had opened a few years…

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