REMEMBERING THE UPTOWN THEATRE – VAUDEVILLE, CINEMA, DEMOLITION

UPTOWN2The UPTOWN, one of TORONTO’s finest vaudeville houses opened in 1920 and was demolished for a condominium development in 2003 <PHOTO ABOVE>. It met an unpleasant end, collapsing inward while being demolished, killing one young man and wounding fourteen others.

uptown3A cinema with 3,000 seats in one auditorium, the Uptown was eventually converted into one of North America’s first multiplexes in 1969. The Uptown 1, 2 and 3 played major Hollywood releases, and the Backstage 1 and 2 regularly screened art films.

uptown4In 2001, new regulations required wheelchair access to all theatres.  The Uptown’s owners refused to lay out the required $700,000, and sold the building to developers who knocked it down.

During demolition, a large section of the theatre collapsed after a vital steel support beam on a roof truss was cut.  The Uptown fell in on itself, taking an adjacent language school with it.

UPTOWN5

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