Toronto’s Movie Houses An Endangered Species
Torontoist heard through the grapevine that three Festival Cinemas were going to be closing down. The rumour was confirmed by the Star this morning. The Fox, the Royal and the Revue will be closed by June according to their story. With the Uptown being torn down and the fate of the Metro up in the air Toronto’s old-time movie houses are more threatened than a baby seal in Newfoundland. (too soon?)
We agree that it must be hard now to run a repertory movie house, especially in a city with great independent video stores and DVDs cheaper and easier to get a hold. Nonetheless Torontoist worries about the effect closing down all of these theatres will have on the city’s many small film festivals. The Royal in particular is popular among many fests. Torontoist chatted with Deanna Wong of the Reel Asian Film Fest and she points out that losing all of these independent theatres will make it harder on fests looking to book cheaper, large venues.
There’s also the loss of a part of neighbourhood history. Movie houses like the Royal were important entertainment venues for the neighbourhoods they’re located in and many were built pre-WWII and are great examples of the architectural styles of that period. Sometimes a neighbourhood gets lucky and these theatres, like the Danforth Music Hall and the Eglinton are converted to live venues. Others though, like the beloved Uptown, met ignoble ends. Let’s hope that something can be done to save these theatres.