400 Drive-In

Highways 400 & 7,
Toronto, ON

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Showing 13 comments

rivest266
rivest266 on March 4, 2014 at 4:29 pm

July 22nd, 1954 grand opening ad in photo section along with its aerial.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on December 6, 2011 at 6:52 am

The 400 Drive-in was originally owned and operated by Nat Taylor’s 20th Century Theatres chain which was located at 175 Bloor St. E. in Toronto. He owned theatres all over Ontario including the Towne Cinema, the Uptown and the Glendale Cinerama in Toronto.

telliott
telliott on July 18, 2011 at 12:30 pm

I’ve always wondered WHY they list it as Colossus Toronto. When it first opened it was listed as Colossus Woodbridge which is part of Vaughan, but definitely NOT Toronto.

William Mewes
William Mewes on July 18, 2011 at 12:10 pm

These are the correct coordinates.

http://maps.google.ca/maps?hl=en&ll=43.788569,-79.543076&spn=0.008427,0.021007&z=16

The Drive-In has been replaced by the “Famous Players Colossus Toronto” however it should be noted that despite the word “Toronto” in the name this location is not actualy and has never been in Toronto it is in “Vaughan”

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 17, 2010 at 10:26 am

Nice marquee shot in the header.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 15, 2010 at 4:39 pm

Good stories Drive-in Girl and Assistantmanager.

waicus
waicus on December 5, 2007 at 8:18 pm

I was born, in Toronto, in 1952. We first lived on Maple Leaf drive near Jane and Lawrence. Then moved, in 1959, to Sheppard and Jane.

I know my parents brought me to the 400 as a baby often. They didn’t have much money, and with me sleeping in the back they knew everything would be OK.

Later, my cousins and I would go there in by aunt’s car almost every Saturday night. I remember so clearly playing on the swings in front of the theatre.

My movie life, up until I was able to drive on my own, was split between the Odeon Weston (Lawrence and Weston Road) and the 400.

I recall when the other screens where added. My parents would take my sister and brothers to see the main feature. I would sometimes turn around to look at the other two screens in the hope I’d see something “naughty” (adult rated). Never happened though.

Assistantmanager
Assistantmanager on August 18, 2005 at 12:09 pm

I worked at the 400 Drive-In from February 1972 until 1992. When I started there, there was just one screen, the one shown in your photos of the theatre. There were 16 or 17 ramps with the snack bar or concession as we called it located about dead centre. The 2 projectors were of the older carbon arc type. I remember the cartons of carbon arcs in the booth and the projectionist changing them.
Around 1977 or 1978, it was decided to add two new screens. It was becoming more difficult to fill the theatre with just one show, and the trend was to go with multiple screens at the indoor theatres.
Theatre #2, the smallest of the three theatres with a capacity of 284 vehicles was the first to go with radio sound probably about a year after its construction. The radio sound at that time seems primitive by today’s standards. The “speaker” posts had two wires each which were wrapped around the vehicle antenna. The radio frequency signal was fed to the posts from the old underground audio wires dating from the days of speakers. A year or two later, the other two were converted to radio sound, theatre #1 with a capacity of 460 vehicles and theatre #3 with a capacity of around 550 cars. Eventually this system was scapped and transmitters with rooftop antennae were installed.
Over the years that I was there, we encountered many problems. The two that I remember most vividly were brought about by industrial development around the theatre property. Water was a big problem. We had a huge well and three pumps to fill our storage tanks. As the surrounding area was built up, the water table changed and we had to have water trucked in. And with the enlargement of 400 highway and the coming of highway 407, huge lamp standards were erected to the east and south of the theatre property. The light that they created at night was a real distraction behind the 2 new screens.
Although I was not employed at the 400 Drive-In at the end, I’m sure that the value of the land it was built on was the last nail in it’s coffin, and around 1995 it closed.

pianoman
pianoman on December 25, 2004 at 7:00 am

This one was apparently fabulous. Does Famous Players own any other classic theatres?

DriveInGirl
DriveInGirl on May 26, 2004 at 7:01 pm

Like the 7&27, this was my other favourite drive-in and pride and joy. I discovered this drive-in a few years after the 7&27.
It is now the site for the 18-screen, and one IMAX Famous Players Colossus. I swear, no matter how hard you try you could never, in a thousand years recognize that area where three screens once flickered under the stars. Now, instead you find a multiplex, a Costco and a gigantic box mall plaza. I was also told it was destroyed to make way for the new 407 ETR.
400 was located only 15 minutes up Highway 7 from the 7&27. The 400 was surrounded by more urban area than the 7&27 and the light pollution was probably only going to hurt it even more in the future. It’s layout was a lot like that of the North York Drive-in in Sharon, Ontario with the three screens surrounding the massive snack bar in the center. Each screen had it’s own unique appearance. Neither was like the other. It’s snack bar was really big and posessed that same unique aroma as the 7&27.
I hated myself for never getting pictures of either drive-in and I want to thank Doug Gordon for sending me the pictures of both of them, it meant so much to me! These two drive-ins meant the entire world to me and they have been, and still are terribly missed.
R.I.P 7&27 and 400, their always in my heart!

ChadIrish
ChadIrish on August 19, 2002 at 10:30 am

Thanks for posting your memories of the 400 Drive-In. Yes it was a great Drive-In and it will be sadly missed.

dgordon
dgordon on July 10, 2002 at 7:18 am

I have very fond memories of this drive-in. It was the first drive-in that I attended back in 1984. I remember the movies, they were “Spring Break” & “Where the Boys Are ‘84”-two classics! When I heard the theatre was closing, I made sure to get some film for my camera and get pictures of both the 400 & 7&27 Drive-ins. These were the last of the huge screen drive-ins in Toronto. Going to the movies just has not been the same since this theatre closed. It’s one of a long list of drive-in that have disappeared from the Toronto area since the '70s & '80s. Other theatres were: Northwest, Northeast, Parkway, Dufferin, Brampton, Scarboro, Oshawa, Tepee, & Bay Ridges Drive-ins. In conclusion, it’s sad to see the 400 replaced by the Colossus theatre-it’s just not the same cool experience.