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My uncle (and his younger sister, my mum) worked here before he owned The Palace. I’m looking for interior photos, if anyone can point me in the right direction, I’d be much obliged.
Greetings to all. John Francis was my uncle. I’m trying to get more information about the cinema to compile for Christmas for my mom. (She’s 84.) Any tips, suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated.
A recent Spec article dealing with this part of town (and the notion of somehow ‘resurrecting’ The Avon) prompted me to post an article on one of my community activism blogs:
TivFan: Am researching for a novel and would love chat about The Palace. Please contact me:
There is a long-standing brick company on Lawrence Road, at the base of the Niagara Escarpment, just west of Ottawa Street. It seems entirely likely that what you found might well have originated here.
As a result of the interest and the momentum generated in the Facebook page group, I’ve set up a blog as a means to an end; setting up an actual ‘memorial’ site for The Century.
That blog can be found here: [url]http://thecenturytheatre.blogspot.com/[/url]
All interested parties are invited to contribute.
Tons of stuff there. Let me know if you need any further input.
Thanks so much to RJB and Brian. Much appreciated at this time of loss.
Can anyone confirm the various seating capacity numbers? How did it drop from 2000 upon the Lyric opening to 860…or 705…upon the Century closing?
Did this happen during the renovations in ‘22? In the shift in use in 1940? In the '67 rejigging?
I’m looking for non-speculative material here, such as plans, or otherwise certified seat counts.
‘Island of the Blue Dolphins'
'Robinson Crusoe on Mars'
'The Incredible Mr. Limpet’
Just a few of the films I saw at this nabe. I lived around the corner and down the street. (About the same distance from Canada’s first drive-in, the Skyway.) I wish I could remember all the times my brother took me to Saturday matinÃ©es after completing his paper route deliveries. Those I’m still able to, warm my heart. (So much so that I wrote The Fox into a screenplay and a novel.)
What a blessed childhood I had in this regard; The Fox (and others) left a truly indelible mark.
I’m not the one who resurrected it, Larry! Why bring it up, except to try and slap my wrist?
Maybe you’re just bored. Here’s an assignment: fix the economy.
Um… OK… So what does posting frank opinions on a site have to do with my graciousness while on the premises of the building? And if you were to ask the tour guide in question, if she remembered me at all, she’d probably tell you I was a convivial and genuinely interested guest. But I’m under no obligation to toe the party line and genuflect at the altar of the JW restoration efforts elsewhere.
Besides; you’re giving them FAR too much credit when you ‘explain’ their motives, trying to provide some perspective as to what ‘they did’. They made the best of a situation and in the resultant efforts, made an offering to their god. (Not to mention aggrandizing themselves in the process; the very fact that they have purposefully omitted/deleted all references to the building’s history…I could provide a list of people throughout history who have ‘wiped the slate clean’ like this, but I won’t bring politics into the discussion, religion having made its presence is bad enough…says more about their ‘selflessness’ than anything else) And frankly, I’m not interested in, nor do I need any of your clarification as to ‘what they’re about’. I know. I have direct experience with them.
Nothing I wrote initially about my visit to the Stanley has changed, and I understand that I am in the minority on this issue. Judgemental comments as to my graciousness are, at best uncalled for, and at worst, a complete indulgence on your part. If you love the Stanley, great. Have fun. Just leave me out of it.
And no, I’m not a woman. But thanks for the compliment. : )
It’s almost impossible to reverse behaviour such as this. (Here’s an example of how far gone things are: http://www.thestar.com/Crime/article/537700 ) Blame who you will, this is where we are.
This is what makes me crave simultaneous releases. Dolts such as the texting teens will stay home and either rent it buy it or download it. Not the solution that most here would support, but for many, the days of moviegoing that you describe…it being an event…are gone. Forever.
“Shortly I hope to tour the Stanley Theatre and I am grateful to the volunteers who do this willingly, often without training. I am grateful to the owners for their allowing access and their care of the restoration, none of which is their obligation to the public. THANKS!”
Yes, thanks to the volunteers who do it ENTIRELY as a means to have a chance to a) show how much they worship their god, and b) show how proud they are of all the work they did at the Stanley on behalf of their god. (i.e. self-congratulating gloating)
Don’t think for a second that this is an altruistic gesture on their behalf. It ain’t. If it was, there’d be a cinematic aspect to the tour. There isn’t. This is a preening, ‘this is how much we will do for our faith’ gesture.
I may not have much time for organized religion, but this isn’t me being dismissive (I had a JW canvasser at my door yesterday, and we had a congenial exchange), this is me wanting to label something appropriately. Maybe others' thankfulness at this building being restored removes their objectivity. Such is a hallmark of need.
Is it at all possible to get a dialogue going that addresses some of the ‘complaints’ on this thread regarding the programming at the Loew’s, as well as Bob'spoint-of-view? It seems to me that there’s a lot of behind-the-scenes information that we’re not privy to that would answer some very pointed questions.
I remember those buses!
There’s the Hyland down the street on the right…and I’m assuming the Capitol in the foreground on the left?
For any of you interested in reading the final word on this affair, please refer to the original off-site posting, found here. Oh, and thanks for reading.
TheaterBuff1: Well, if nothing else, you’re a fascinating person. Unfortunately, you also remind me of really ardent, nitrous-fueled born-again Christians who, during the course of a conversation (and calling it that is being extraordinarily generous) cannot seem to detach themselves from their own dogma, their own intractable mindset.
“Beautiful day today, isn’t it? I love this weather!"
"The Lord Jesus Christ is your personal saviour, and He loves you!"
"Uh…right. Do you follow sports? Basketball? Hockey? Baseball?"
"God bless the baby Jesus, he is your only path to salvation, you must do what is necessary to follow Him to Heaven."
"Well, then… Maybe we can disscuss the news."
"Good news, friend! God loves you and wants you in Heaven!”
You’re a highly intelligent person, that much is clear…but the way you seem fixated on the issues that are seemingly important to you, is a mystery to me. So much so that I’m really not inclined to pursue exchanges in this arena any further; my time is way too valuable to be taken up in this way. So I wish you the best with your passions…I hope they provide you with the sustenance you clearly require.
As for the ‘challenge’, it’s now closed. At some point I’ll be throwing up on the ‘…meaninglessly iconoclastic, a contradiction of that very worthwhile goal, perhaps a bit Talibanish, in fact.’ blog, a quick example of the kind of imaginative result I was looking for. Shame that nobody won the contest, and its movie passes. Oh, well; more cinema experiences for me.
One thing I have learned throughout my life, having grown up next to the US (an experience that TheaterBuff1 would have absolutely no concept of), having travelled and lived elsewhere, is that by and large, a country’s citizens are often its worst observers. Certainly its least objective. Given that America has, as part of its social DNA a need to see things from its own myopic, isolationist point-of-view (save in those arenas where its self-interests are paramount), I find your comment again, amusing.
What’s most fascinating for me though, is your insistence to judge things from a wholly different point of view than I do, constantly corralling elements such as over-the-top historical references (the Nazis) or the dramatical (‘Julius Caesar’) into the discussion, while for me, it all comes down to a few basic elements, not complicated at all, nothing worthy of the pseudo-academic slant you seem intent on imposing. Where jingoism gets invoked. Where the awful sights and sounds of partisan/corrupt politics gets tossed into the mix. At its core, the whole ‘What happened to our movie palaces?’ is an elementary riddle with an elementary solution, not one with any catastrophic inferences, nothing that deserves to be recorded as some kind of portent of things to come, and certainly not due any soap-boxing. Political discourse isn’t required, and it’s only a discussion involving social issues insofar as consumerism goes, the simple laws of the free-market system prevailing. The very act of you declaring ‘My argument is that an economy based on pillaging is not sustainable.’ is, to a great extent, a non sequitur of sorts. Why do you find it necessary to try to elevate the discussion to another level, bringing notions into play that -although they clearly are important to you, seem to be something you’ve invested a good deal of anima in- aren’t germane to the core issue at hand?
I admire your tenacity, but question its appropriateness. Especially given that this is a thread that I began, and unless I’ve missed it, you haven’t chosen to accept the challenge and toss into the ring even the most casual of offerings.
TheaterBuff1: “Schmadrian, you should make it clear to everyone that the vantage point you’re writing from, perhaps what you mean by "the bigger picture,” is Toronto, Canada, where you’re currently residing. And it’s still not clear to what degree you’ve ever ventured out of Toronto down into the lower 48, or however Canadians refer to the states that make up the continental U.S."
Actually, I don’t reside in Toronto.
For the record, I’ve lived in the US. I’ve travelled extensively in the US. I spent the better part of a decade living in the UK, have travelled to Europe and Africa. I have the farthest thing from a parochial worldview you could imagine…which is what your ‘observation’ insinuates. (Frankly, it seems to me that you’re certainly not one to be throwing stones in this particular arena.)
As for your sustained insistence that ‘What we’re seeing now is temporary’… Honestly, I don’t even know where to start. But I think for the sake of propriety, I’ll take whatever comments I do feel good and proper to respond to you with off this thread and email you privately.
WGTRay: “Schmadrian, a question to you, if I may. I find it odd that you insist there is some nefarous "personal connection” in the demise of the picture palaces. Why do you insist that there is?"
I don’t. You’ve misunderstood me. Read it again, please:
“Despite the declamations of some, the notion that ‘they’ did it, that ‘men with political and economic avarice in their hearts’ did it, that were it not for these nefarious elements in our past, we’d all still be regularly heading to our local cinema treasures is…well…quite hilarious.”
There are some commenters on this very thread who seem to have a need to create villains where the demise of the movie palaces are concerned. Corrupt politicians, greedy robber-barronesque types… I believe this perception is hogwash.
Although there are some surprises in the responses, what’s been contributed so far is pretty much what I expected. (Such as TheaterBuff1 not being able to resist injecting a polemic on Philadelphia politics as it affected local movie palace history into any discussion about cinemas, period. LOL!)
(Vic1964: Look here: http://www.edwardjayepstein.com/mpa2004.htm )
What I find most intriguing is the fact that almost everyone who commented (and there are some notable exceptions, and I have to tell you I was heartened by the cogency of thought expressed in these) aimed the blame at a faceless entity. Or, the notion of ‘business’. Or the pursuit of money. Again, going back to the original challenge, I’m struck by how this seems to be the default. That people distance themselves from a ‘problem’, and can’t even seem to consider what they’ve contributed to everything unfolding as it has. Maybe this is why nobody has deigned to actually give a shot at the core of the challenge, to posit possible ways that things may have turned out differently. Maybe they can’t because they would prefer to point the finger of blame at a scurrilous concept, thereby distancing themselves from any possible personal connection. Or maybe the required creativity just isn’t at their fingertips.
In the end, perhaps I just look at things differently. I’ve always said that I have a tendency to step back a few more paces than most to want to see the bigger picture, often drawing less savoury conclusions because of the increased perspective. And I am a strong adherent of the notion that as a member of a community, a society, we are all inextricably connected to both the accomplishments and the ignominies that result from day-to-day living. I reject outright anything associated with NIMBY, and am suspect of any tendency to assign blame from a detached and isolated vantage point. So for me, the belief that we all contributed to the demise of the movie palace (even if by seemingly innocuous habits) is pretty much inviolate. Despite the declamations of some, the notion that ‘they’ did it, that ‘men with political and economic avarice in their hearts’ did it, that were it not for these nefarious elements in our past, we’d all still be regularly heading to our local cinema treasures is…well…quite hilarious. (For the record, so is the belief that single-screeners have any chance of a comeback. If you do embrace this possibility, I have some buggy whips you might be interested in. Oh, and some transistor radios. And no-hassle airport experiences.) Free-will, freedom of choice, self-determination…they’re all foundations of our lives here in North America, the paradox of ‘sheeple’ notwithstanding.
Of course, laziness can overcome just about any freedoms, can’t it…?
Regarding the challenge, at this point it looks like I might end up handing out the gift certificate for something other than the intended goal, which was to suggest ways in which we might not have ended up here, in this movie palace wasteland. Because so far, nobody has really run with it. Maybe I’ll have to strike up a scenario of my own, just to get the ball rolling.
Well, it’s certainly been my impression, given the number of comments I’ve come across during the years I’ve been visiting. There seems to be more value placed on moaning and whining about the state of affairs, rather than any interest in understanding -and accepting- how things got this way. (And the parts we’ve all played.) As if the grumbling somehow offers up some sort of…well…perverse satisfaction. As if it somehow validates the person, being in such consistent distemper. Not only that, but there’s the typical ‘old person’s’ dismissal of different values, the likes and dislikes of a ‘younger audience’. It reminds me of my father’s diatribes about ‘Dancing With The Stars’, his self-righteous fury about how ‘THAT’S not ballroom dancing!!!’
Oh, and I wasn’t referring to you, Al, in any case.
As I tried to no avail to get this posted as a new item two days ago (the result of either a technical glitch or an editorial decision), I’m posting it here:
‘Challenge issued to those hating how things turned out’
Regular Cinema Treasures commenter schmadrian has issued a challenge to those movie palace aficionados who wish things hadn’t ended up the way they have.
“As hinted at in a recent ‘Cinema Treasures’ thread, I’d like to challenge all those who so animatedly decry ‘how bad things have gotten’ to put aside their frustrations, their habitual indignant ravings, and instead, invest these sometimes not-inconsiderable energies into suggesting how we might not have ended up here. (While ‘here’ is subjective, for the sake of this experiment, let’s say we’re referring to not only a loss of cinematic heritage by way of the wrecking ball, but also leaving us with bland, over-priced boxes-for-theatres with mannerless idjits for patrons.) Using the concept of ‘alternate history’, I’m challenging any and all to have a go at jiggling circumstances, at rearranging cause-and-heartbreaking-effect, at playing with all the contributing factors to end up with-
Well, to end up with something more resembling what you’d like to be seeing out there, rather than we have. This, in a nutshell, is a chance for some to put their money where their mouths are."
While this certainly isn’t an attempt to make fun of overzealous attitudes, it is an effort to develop some more perspective. If it turns out that there are some thoroughly creative approaches to retroactively revising circumstances so that movie palaces are the norm rather than the exception, then the time and effort involved to construct the framework for the exercise will have been worth it. If not…well…who knows what therapeutic benefits a deeper understanding, reconciliation and closure might bring?
The best suggestion provided by participants will be awarded a modest prize, the nature of which will no doubt befit a contest relating to movie-going.
The challenge can be found here.