SHEA’S HIPPODROME AT QUEEN & BAY WAS ONCE CANADA’S LARGEST THEATRE – IT’S GONE FOR GOOD

SHEA’S HIPPODROME, opened on April 27, 1914 on what is now Nathan Phillips Square. It was the largest theatre in Canada, with over 3,000 seats. Silent movies were on the bill, along with a 24-piece orchestra.In 1926 a magnificent $50,000 Wurlitzer organ was installed. It would rise from the lowest part of the orchestra pit to the stage. The theatre closed on December 27, 1957 to make way for a new city hall. The organ was re-installed in Maple Leaf Gardens.<SHEA’S HIPPODROME with a sign promoting Elvis Presley’s new movie ‘LOVE ME TENDER’.  The film opened in November, 1956.>  ABOVE PHOTOS – City of Toronto Archive; Toronto Public Library & Historic Toronto.

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BAD NEWS FROM MOVIELAND – THE HUMBER CINEMA WILL BE DEMOLISHED FOR A 12-STOREY CONDO BLDG.

For about three years it’s been a waiting game to determine if or if not, one of TORONTO’s oldest cinemas would bite the dust. The time has come. Saturday, June 1st will be the last day the HUMBER is with us.Opened in 1949 as an Odeon, it was shut down in 2003 and then re-opened in 2011. Four cinemas (two downstairs) were created out of the original two, but the integrity of the building was maintained.It’s always sad when a movie theatre is torn down. These happy gathering places are oftentimes the heart and soul of a community, and when it’s a beauty like The Humber doubly so.TORONTO has at least 10 intact, fully functioning neighbourhood cinemas – many of them survivors from the Golden Age. Unfortunately the Humber won‘t be joining the club.

UNIQUE IN NORTH AMERICA: THE HOT DOCS TED ROGERS’ CINEMA SCREENS DOCUMENTARIES DAILY

Formerly the Bloor Cinema, Hot Docs bought it in 2016 with a $4-million gift from the Rogers Foundation. Rebranded the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, the Annex neighbourhood theatre projects documentaries, along with lectures, courses, festivals and special events seven days a week. The Cinema is part of the Bloor Street West Cultural Corridor.

<PHOTO ABOVE – Joseph Michael>  Address – 506 Bloor Street West.  To see what’s playing go to http://www.hotdocscinema.ca

AFTER 6 YEARS & MILLIONS OF $$$$’S, BOTH THE HOT DOCS CINEMA & FESTIVAL HAVE TURNED A PROFIT

Its 650 seats will be filled again soon for the 2018 Hot Docs Documentary Film Festival.  TORONTO’s documentary cinema has become a financial success story. It’s turning a profit! In 2016, the Festival screened a record 232 films before an audience of 211,000. In 2018, its 25th anniversary, the lineup will be even larger – 246 full-length, medium and short-length films.

The theatre – one of only three in the world – was once the elderly and rather rundown Bloor Cinema near Bathurst and Bloor.  After a grant of $5-million from the Ted Rogers Foundation, the much-improved cinema reopened and has never looked back. Its ‘learn-as-you-go’ programming for film festivals, on top of a daily screening schedule has worked well – for festival-goers and those who want to see only a specific documentary.

<PHOTO – lining up for the Hot Docs Festival at the Royal Cinema/2012>

SIMON HOUPT has written “Some Like It Hot”, an in-depth article on the history of the Hot Docs Cinema and the growth of the Festival itself. You’ll find it in the Globe and Mail/April 21, 2018 or at https://www.theglobeandmail.com/arts/film/article-despite-the-odds-the-hot-docs-cinema-has-become-a-financial-success/

BARCO ESCAPE PANORAMIC THEATRES HAVE OPENED & CANADA’S FIRST 4DX CINEMA IS ON THE WAY

CINERAMA1Movies have come a long way since the primitive wide screen thrills of Cinerama. At TORONTO’s Scotiabank Theatre, 259 Richmond Street West, Barco Escape panoramic multi-screen cinemas are up and running.

BARCO3In a nutshell, three screens allow simultaneous angles of one action event, or three different but related shots. Barco Escape is somethng new, and directors and cinematographers are learning how to effectively use it.  Stay tuned.

BARCO2This fall Canada’s first commercial-film 4DX theatre will open in TORONTO at Yonge & Dundas Square Cinemas.  Until now 4DX has been used only in theme parks, but soon it will be transferred to a regular downtown cinema. 4DX will feature specially-designed motion chairs and environmental effects like wind, mist, bubbles, snow and scent. That’s an experience television can’t provide.

4DX    <PHOTO – Getty Images>