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Revue Cinema Marquee Collapses

Torontoist Flickr pool contributor bitefight brings us photos of the shuttered Revue cinema, which suffered a spectacular collapse of its marquee yesterday. The structure fell Sunday morning around 3 a.m. and there were no apparent injuries. The drippy marquee was well-known for its tendency to collect snow and water, and it seems that the weight of the recent snowfall is the cause behind the collapse.
Opened in 1912, the Revue is a heritage property, and thus, its facade must be preserved. The non-profit Revue Film Society has been trying to save the building from redevelopment since it closed in June, intending to run it as a repertory theatre for independent film. The RFS raised over $30,000 in donations and offered to purchase the theatre from private investors. The original private purchase deal fell through and the building is once again for sale, listed at $1,275,000. The RFS hopes for either a lease agreement or a benevolent investor that will reopen the doors to Toronto’s film fans.
The Revue was one of Canada’s longest continuous-running movie houses and has become a significant landmark on Roncesvalles Avenue. Its closing concerned preservationists, joining the recent closures of classic houses like the Kingsway, the Paradise, the Royal and the Eglinton. The theatre was one of four owned by the Festival Cinemas Group, which was owned by Peter McQuillan, who died in 2004. The family was struggling to keep the cinemas open, noting poor ticket sales and home rentals as a key to their demise.
The final film screened at the Revue was Lawrence of Arabia on June 30, 2006. See photos of how the marquee used to look here.
UPDATE: Readers report that the sign was cut apart today, thrown in a bin and carted away. More photos of the sign and its dismantling here and here. Additional photos below the fold.



  • Marc Lostracco

    Now that the marquee has been cut apart and hauled away in a Dumpster (see new links in the article update), that thing better not be headed for the trash. I’d pay big money for one of those letters (especially the “R”)!
    The REVUE signs should be in a museum or something, though I fear they’re going the way of the Redpath Sugar sign. Can anyone shed some light on where they took the debris? If they dump it, there should be hell to pay.

  • NorthRonces

    I have just added the following note of clarification to my entry that you may be referring to when you speak of the sign being cut up:

    [NB: By “cut up” I refer to the fact that the owners had the large “R” from the centre of the marquee, as well as the two neon “Revue” signs from either side, cut out of the wreckage and set aside for possible future restoration. Hopefully, these pieces will serve in the reconstruction of the marquee as a whole.]

  • Marc Lostracco

    Do zoning requirements allow an overhanging structure to be rebuilt/replaced in its original space, even though the City no longer allows new marquees like that to be constructed?

  • Steve

    Something eerily poignant and metaphorical about this. Sad. A fallen, vintage movie theater marquee with a “for sale” sign on it.
    Prediction: Some corporation wil come in and offer to restore it, but it will HAVE to put it’s name on it so it will become the “Staple’s Revue” or the “Pepsi Revue”. No one in the neighborhood will be able to afford to go in it.

  • Andy

    This incident is quite shameful. The building was up for sale and has had a number of offers that were not completed. This means that a number of building (and marquee) inspections were done and most likely someone was aware of the condition of the marquee. I doubt they expected it to fall but clearly this could have been averted.

  • Steve

    Let’s suppose it was not up for sale. That it was open and running, that there could’ve potentially been someone standing underneath this when it happened (very lucky someone didn’t get hurt or even killed).
    Would they have caught it then in that same inspection? Obviously, it’s an extreme circumstance with the snow (or is it?), but I’m thinking if there were an inspection, someone was less than thorough. Again though, this is another example of something we are losing that will not come back (like those brain cells we drank away:). Can’t we just tear it down and squeeze a GooglePlex in it’s space and charge 10 bucks for popcorn?

  • Marc Lostracco

    If you look at the high-res versions of the photos linked-to in the article, you can see that the anchors and roof of the marquee were rusted to hell. I’m amazed it passed inspection, but then again, I’m not an inspector. We’re lucky it fell at three in the morning when nobody was around — although it certainly would be an interesting way to go.

  • Steve

    I’m sure once the finger pointing starts as to who is going to pay for the cleanup alone, there will be an investigation. Or, at least I would hope there is. We can’t have marquees just falling everytime it snows. Can we?

  • Adam Sobolak

    Now, I’m *really* fearing for Venus down the street…

  • Bob Jones

    Our historic gem gone, just like that.
    Roncesvalles has just lost one of it’s key symbols of community.
    This illustrates how hollow “historic” designation is in Toronto. If a building is granted historic protection, then it should be backed up by government inspectors who ensure what has been protected is being properly preserved. This should be followed with support for the owner in terms of tax incentives to help pay for maintaining the property.
    Was this crash unavoidable? No. The marquee was hanging for 90 years through snow and rain, and it could have been there for another 90; but it was decided to let the building rot.
    It’s pretty sad that we’re having trouble preserving architecture not even a 100 years old, where in europe they’re preserving thousands of buildings many hundreds of years old.
    I wish we had more respect for our past.