This yellow brick building on Dundas Street West at Spadina Avenue opened its doors in 1922 as The Standard Theatre. Designed by architect Benjamin Brown, it was home to Yiddish comedy, original Jewish and translated plays, music, and left-wing politics. The building went on to become The Strand, a movie house, and from there the Victory Burlesque. These days, on street level, it’s a 7,000 square-foot Rexall Pharmacy Plus.
In 1961, the Victory was one of three burlesque theatres in town, but by the mid-sixties the other two had disappeared. Ryerson & University of Toronto students were among its most loyal fans.
Occasionally The Victory doubled as a music venue. The New York Dolls, Kiss, Iggy Pop & Rush all played there. TORONTO’s educational television station even did a live New Year’s Eve telecast from the Victory.
As far as we know, the old theatre itself is still intact – ghosts and all. Now there’s hope that a community-based space of some kind will appear on the upper levels. No sign of that yet.
Organized by ‘Don’t Mess With The Don’, hundreds of volunteers gave up their Saturday by picking trash in TORONTO’s Don Valley.
The Don is more than just a park. It’s home to a six-lane freeway, access to 10 ravines, bike and running trails, Evergreen Brick Works, and a sizable population of native animals and birds.
At day’s end, an impressive 1,500 bags (about 100,000 pounds) of trash were waiting for pickup.
Don’t Mess With The Don collaborated with Evergreen, Greenpeace, Salomon, Arc’teryx and One Piece a Day in this second-annual event. <PHOTO ABOVE – some of Saturday’s volunteers in one of the Don Valley parks>
William Lyon MacKenzie was an outspoken newspaper editor, a leader of the 1837 Upper Canadian Rebellion, and following a sojourn in the United States – our city’s first mayor. Located in downtown TORONTO, the MacKenzie row-house was purchased by the community when he retired from politics. It’s now a museum featuring changing exhibitions and special events. Reputedly it’s haunted. Website – http://www.toronto.ca/culture/mackenzie-house.htm
After decades of trying to get a leg up, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND, birthplace of Confederation, home of Ann of Green Gables, has elected enough Green Party seats to form the province’s Official Opposition.
<ANNE OF THE OFFICIAL GREEN OPPOSITION, editorial cartoon by BRIAN GABLE, Globe and Mail>
<PHOTO by John Morris/Canadian Press/PA Images – PEI Green party leader Peter Bevan-Baker> On Tuesday night Islanders voted in their first minority government since 1890. The island province’s 153,000 people gave a much-needed boost to the Green Party. There are three Members (MLA’s) in the British Columbia legislature, three in New Brunswick, one in Ontario, and now nine (9!) in Prince Edward Island.WELL DONE, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND!
‘LAKESHORE’ by CHRIS RIDDELL
Along this strip
you could once find
pulling into burger joints
before the movies,
and afterward they’d go
ripping up and down
surfing on the lake breeze.
That was when
the edge of town boomed
and everyone went to Lakeshore
to eat in diners
caressed by the cool wind,
and spend nights by the water
in small motels
on the beaches of Lake Ontario
Now their bodies crumble
as an excavator eats them
and it’s stunning how easily
something comes to ruin,
the passage of time.
CHRIS RIDDELL is a writer and musician based in TORONTO. He’s written for Maisonneuve & The Globe and Mail, and his poetry has appeared in Vallum, Sulphur, and amomancies. He endeavors to capture the beauty of the world, and universal truths about life on Earth.
You can reach Chris on Twitter (@itschrisriddell) and on Instagram (@modernquixote). VALLUM, specializes in contemporary poetry, interviews and essays. It’s available, both in print and on the web at http://www.vallummag.com/archives_14_1.html
I’ve always believed that the best neighbourhoods have movie theatres in them. This one, in TORONTO’s East End, was brought back to life this year, and renamed The Grand Gerrard Theatre – the latest in a series of names, including the Bonita, the Athenium, the Sri Lakshmi, the Gerrard, the Wellington, and the Projection Booth.<The theatre was once used as a New & Used Auto Parts storage facility>
<The Athenium screened Greek movies><The Gerrard – equipped for Dolby Digital><Lining up for The Projection Booth><Re-opening as the Grand Gerrard Theatre in March/2019> During its long career, the 520-seater was opened, closed and renovated several times. After recently lying dormant for three years, it’s come back yet again. The staff is currently booking special events, film screenings, live music, comedy, performance art, film/photo shoots, podcasts and more.To find out what’s happening at the Grand Gerrard Theatre go to https://www.cinemaclock.com/theatres/grand-gerrard-theatre