Extreme Usher: The Imperial Six
TORONTO, CANADA — An usher looks back at his days at the Imperial Six, 70’s incarnation of the Canon Theatre.
Neither one of the grand movie palaces of the pre-tv era (although it had been in its previous incarnation as the 3,000 seat Imperial), nor a megagigaplex of the post-modern era, the Imperial Six sat, uncomfortably but functionally somewhere between the two, as close in time at its birth to WWII as it is to our own. It still evoked the excitement and spectacle of going to the movies, but was, perhaps, one of the first signs that moviegoing was being transformed: fewer theatres, with lots of screens. Tens of thousands of people streamed through its doors during a preview week, just to look around before any movies were screening.
Architect Mandel Sprachman kept some of the old elegance of the past, commissioning original art (hanging sculptures made from metal and found objects, and giant fibreglass figures kissing in the dark), exposed unseen elements of the building (two of the theatres were constructed in the backstage spaces) and saluted the heritage of the building with historical signage and a sensually surrealistic mural.
Read more at Silent Toronto.