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Got back from Boston last week and walked around this theatre. It IS hard to believe that there is a large theatre hidden in this building at all. It got me wondering, what was the layout of the theatre in there? Was the auditorium straight back from the lobby entrance on Washington St, or was the lobby a long one with the theatre itself to the left. If the backstage area was at the corner of Hayward Pl andHarrison Av then was the theatre running north and south at the back of the block?
Now the Empire Kanata 24, name needs to be changed on here.
Already an Empire Theatre. That was fast. Needs to be changed now to Empire Whitby 24
I’m also wondering Jon, now that Cineplex will have the Y&D 24 AND the Scotiabank if they will put more arty type films in at the Varisty to partially fill the void left by the closure of the Cumberland Four? I mean right now the Varsity is the ONLY venue left in that whole area that was once RICH with theatres.
Well if that’s the case then they better close the Silvercity, the Winston Churchill is waaaay nicer and has more screens.
What puzzles me is this competition business that you can’t have too many Cineplex or Empires in one area, remember the days when Famous Players had 5 different theatre buildings in the Yonge/Bloor area or the Sheraton Centre twin right around the corner and up the street from the Imperial Six? When did all that change?
I am too Jon, should be interesting. I’m a bit surprised that Empire didn’t snap this up to get a downtown location and have more screens than Cineplex has at Scotiabank. I’m also a bit puzzled that Cineplex is taking over the Winston Churchill 24 in Oakville, which is literally down the street from it’s Silvercity Mississauga location. Maybe they will sell that one to Empire?
I agree Nick. For example here in Toronto where there have been many long runs, “Mad, Mad World” only played 18 weeks at the Odeon Carlton while playing much longer at similar sized cities, some even a year. Also “Circus World” played a measly 5 weeks at the same theatre, the worst run of a Cinerama film in Toronto.
This, one of my very favourite theatres has now been demolished, to make way for the Madison condominium complex. I have fond memories of this beautiful building, right from the beginning, went here a lot durning the 70s and 80s, saw many major releases here over the years. This was a first run showcase for the Odeon chain back then and have missed it since it’s closing. Farewell Odeon York!
I’ve always found it curious John and Jon that U.S. chains haven’t seemed to make it here in Canada as elsewhere. Cinemark tried it out west and AMC here in the east, we have everything else from the states, stores, restaurants, etc, I wonder why not movie chains? Now with FP gone there is really only 2 major chains, Cineplex and Empire with a few small ones like Rainbow, Landmark and a few independents..
Hurray, it’s back! I kept waiting for Cleveland when the series was first introduced, but it never got that far. Great to finally see it.
How do you change the status of this to Closed?
Yes, I’d heard that too Jon. I guess the only other major player in Canada now is Empire, now that Famous Players is gone. Maybe they would like a sparkling new downtown multiplex since they have nothing downtown. I wish they had taken over the 10 screen one proposed by FP at One Bloor since the area needs something else. Now the Varsity has to try to fit in the blockbusters the Uptown used to have and the artsy stuff that the Cumberland had. I wonder what WILL happen to the Carlton since it’s only recently been taken over.
Yes, I agree Jon, not a very good venue, but it was just nice having a theatre actually located in Yorkville. I have often wondered what happened to the Plaza Twins in the Hudson’s Bay Centre, are they just sitting down there empty after all these years? The entrance is all sealed up, you would never even know those theatres existed. If only FP had found a replacement for the Uptown before their demise, we might have that AND the Varsity…alas now it’s only the Varsity left in what was the most theatres in a few short blocks of each other in all of downtown.
Just read in today’s Toronto Star that the Cumberland Four is closing tomorrow. Pretty good run of over 31 years. That leaves only the Varsity 12 left of all the theatres that were once in this area. And with all of the thousands moving in to the area with all the new condo development around, too bad all those theatres weren’t with us today.
That is correct TivFan, I have old movie pages from the late 60s and the Strand was a major downtown theatre playing first run attractions. So it couldn’t have burned down in the 50s. I do remember driving by and yes, had a large marquee.
Yes, it’s really too bad John. I much prefer the AMCs to the others that Cineplex Entertainment offers, they’ve been in Canada about 13, 14 yrs now, too bad we have fewer choices that we used to.
Well, my wife went to a movie here today and she said that once inside, there is a wall completely closing off the whole large lobby that was straight ahead including the large concession area as well as all of the 4 largest theatres from the lobby and the whole northern wing of theatres. You now just go to the right wing to the theatres down there with the concession at the end of the hallway. So don’t know what the heck is going on with this place. It’s a shame too, because I much preferred this place to the loud, garish Colossus across the highway, but now that one gets all the major 1st run releases and this one is relegated to the odd 1st run and mostly older films that have played out. For the first 12 yrs or so, the Interchange and Colossus both got initial blockbusters upon release but something sure changed in early 2011. It is so ironic since in the 80’s the then small Cineplex chain went to court to get better 1st run product from then majors Canadian Odeon and Famous Players and now Cineplex Entertainment is doing the same to AMC.
This is the King Square cinemas which was formerly the Famous Players Paramount. When Empire bought all the Famous Players cinemas in Atlantic Canada, they renamed this one Empire King Square Cinemas. The other one is the former Odeon theatre which as it states was renamed King Square in 1984, closed in 1996 and is demolished.
Doesn’t it seem odd that the Colossus across the highway gets ALL the new attractions? Oh sure the Interchange gets a few here and there but not nearly as many as they used to. What changed? Maybe if it got a few more of the big blockbusters when released then they wouldn’t have had to close half the theatres. Kind of ironic since Cineplex once sued to get more product all those years ago.
That’s cool Jason. I remember several Toronto area theatres that were named the same way. I guess any Famous Players theatre built or renovated during that era had their cinemas named for former movie palaces. I thought that was a great idea. My favourite was the Oakville Town Centre cinemas where the lobby looked like a street, with the ceiling blue as the sky and each cinema entrance had their own marquee each in a different style with their cinema name and what was playing. Looked just like an old fashioned main street.
It really is a shame that in a city like Chicago, that this cinema (or the Esquire or both) could not have been turned in to something like a Sundance cinema, an Angelika cinema, or even another Landmark location. What a loss eh.
I guess no one from Kingston knows how this was divided up. Too bad Empire couldn’t update this location instead of building way up near 401. That will leave downtown Kingston with only the small Screening Room. That’s a shame. Downtown Windsor recently lost it only cinema location, ironic since both Windsor & Kingston downtowns are close to their respective universities, which I’m sure makes up a good portion of their audience.
I know Jason, I always hoped to make it here too. I love the marquee out front and on Google streetview have gone around to the back where it appears that there is the original building and an add on to the north of it. They have a marquee back there too.
By the way, LOVE LOVE the photos you posted awhile back showing the late great Uptown in Toronto, OMG I miss that place. Now there is an art deco looking condo building on the site called…The Uptown. I especially love the photo taken from the front and above, showing the tall Uptown sign, and the entrance leading from the main doors, up over the alleyway to the main huge Uptown building with the great black roof. That is exactly the view from my nephew’s former apartment when he lived in the tower of the Hudson’s Bay Centre.
Before this theatre closes when the new Empire opens, can someone tell me how this was divided from one single theatre in to 7?? I’ve always wondered how 7 screens were fit in to the original.
I love all your uploads Mike, where do you find them without having to go to a library and look on microfilm?