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Detail from the 1913 edition of Goad’s Atlas of Toronto. Howard Public School is shaded in blue, the Revue Cinema in green.
When the Revue was being planned in late 1911 and early 1912, its owner, the Suburban Amusement Company, faced stiff opposition from school board officials worried about the detrimental effects of “moving picture shows” on innocent youth. Like any new form of entertainment in a morally uptight city, films came under fire for the potentially naughty thoughts they could implant on impressionable minds.
During the Toronto Board of Education’s January 18, 1912 meeting, trustee W.W. Hodgson successfully introduced two motions aimed at preventing the Revue from receiving a moving picture license from the Board of Police Commissioners: a request to the provincial legislature to prohibit the construction of any movie theatre within 1,000 feet of any public school, and a letter to the police commissioners to persuade them to deny the license, as it was only 250 feet away from Howard Public School (then located on Howard Park Avenue). Hodgson believed that movies drained children of morals and money. Fellow trustee Dr. J. Noble feared that films caused a condition he termed “moving picture eye” and moved a motion to have a medical inspector investigate the damage movies did to young eyes. Noble also found censors lax for allowing films that insulted the Canadian military—“We don’t want any Yankee jingoism over here.”
The police board didn’t protest the location of the theatre. When the Revue was granted its license on January 30, 1912, the Mail and Empire observed that “the people living in the immediate vicinity did not object to the granting of the license, and in the minds of the commissioners their views were to be considered in preference to those of people who had previously objected.”
Additional information from the January 19, 1912 and January 30, 1912 editions of the Mail and Empire, and the January 19, 1912 edition of the Toronto Star.