The exterior of the Humber Cinema. Photo by Stephen Michalowicz/Torontoist.
Toronto’s old-school west-end movie theatres are staging a comeback. Hot on the heels of the Kingsway Theatre’s 2009 resurrection, the Humber Cinema might be opening again as early as November.
The theatre, which is located on the north side of Bloor Street West just west of Jane Street, opened in 1949 and has been vacant since it closed due to lackluster attendance in 2003. But now, thanks in no small part to the efforts of new owner (and Kingsway manager) Rui Pereira, Bloor West Village residents may once again have a theatre within walking distance.
“It’s been something I’ve been trying to do for a while,” Pereira told Torontoist. “The goal is to have it open by November,” he says, starting with the upstairs screen, with the downstairs one following “later in 2011.” (“The theatre was twinned”—turned from housing one screen into two—”in the 1970s,” he explains.)
The Humber, or the Cineplex Odeon Humber, as it used to be known, was one of the five original Odeon company–owned theatres built in Toronto in the 1940s. Today, only the Humber and the Danforth are still standing, with the latter since converted into a fitness centre. The last seven years have been less than kind to the once-ornate cinema, Pereira explains. When it shut down, the theatre was gutted, and over the years, a lack of proper maintenance led to water damage, which has taken time to repair.
The new Humber, like the Kingsway, will be showing mostly first-run releases. And although firm plans haven’t been made, Pereira hopes to open the theatre with a Harry Potter flick.
Thanks to Maureen Nolan for the tip.