Toronto’s Festival Cinema chain is closing
TORONTO, CANADA — On June 30, 2006, Toronto’s Festival Cinemas are closing for good. News broke two weeks ago that the Kingsway, Revue and Royal Cinemas were ceasing operation. I just got word this morning that the Paradise and Fox Cinemas are also closing, unable to go on without the other three in the chain.
The Festival Cinemas were Toronto’s largest repertory cinema group and ran for nearly 30 years in old movie houses across the city no longer in use by the major chains. The Revue dates from 1911, the Fox from a few years later. The Kingsway, Royal and Paradise were all built in the 30’s the height of art deco cinemas.
I’ve been a member since July 1984 and this comes as a huge blow to me. At times I got to over 70 screenings in a year — mostly at the Festival Cinemas.
Naturally the area business communities will take a hit as the patrons who came from all over the city will not be venturing out to those neighbourhoods on a regular basis, browsing through their stores. And the biggest worry is will someone come in a tear them all down?
During the 30 years of the Festival chain’s life, some cinemas have come and gone. The heyday came about six years ago when there were 8 in the chain including the Music Hall (now restored as a live performance venue), the Capitol (gutted to become an event-hosting venue) and the Bloor (which broke from the chain six or so years ago). Other past members included the Brighton and the Roxy.
With the closure that leaves the Bloor, the Mount Pleasant and the Regent as Toronto’s remaining small cinemas.
If anyone has any ideas on how we Torontonians can save at least one or two of them, please let me know!!!
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