FIRST IT WAS A YIDDISH THEATRE, THEN THE VICTORY BURLESQUE, THEN A BANK & NOW A PHARMACY

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.

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