Rio Theatre

373 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON M5B

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 24, 2013 at 7:01 pm

This house had become the National Theatre by 1922, nine years after it had opened as the Big Nickel Theatre. Manager S. Garr’s promotional efforts on behalf of Universal’s feature Robinson Crusoe were noted in the July 29, 1922, issue of the studio’s house organ, Universal Weekly.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 27, 2011 at 3:14 am

The architect of the Big Nickel Theatre was John Wilson Siddall. I will upload a photo of the facade as it originally appeared in 1913, from the trade journal Construction.

Rio
Rio on November 26, 2011 at 7:12 pm

We’re posting shots of some of our amazing Rio posters here: http://www.facebook.com/RioMoviePosters. There are still a few boxes we haven’t even catalogued yet!

Gergs
Gergs on November 26, 2011 at 6:45 pm

Hey all, I’m currently writing a paper on some grindhouse cinemas in Toronto and am looking for detailed stories of experiences at the Rio in the 1980s. If this sounds up your alley, please email me at

Though certain cinemas are bringing this type of “trio at the Rio” back, I don’t know if I will ever experience a cinema like one must have experienced a grindhouse theatre in the 70s-80s.

William Mewes
William Mewes on July 15, 2011 at 11:38 am

Hi Rio ! Thank You for posting and please keep us updated.

Rio
Rio on January 27, 2011 at 8:39 am

My family owned and operated the Rio from 1949 until my grandmother finally closed it down in 1991. It’s no nice to read that people still remember it! I still have nearly all the movie posters that we kept when the building was sold. I’ve had them now for twenty years, but I have never done anything with them. I am now preparing our first public exhibit of some of that collection, which will be somewhere in downtown Toronto. I’ll have more details in the coming weeks, but if any of you have any movie poster requests, please e-mail me. Stay tuned!

SilentToronto
SilentToronto on January 22, 2011 at 8:53 am

Hey all, here’s a shot of the Rio in 1985 with Missing In Action 2 on the bill. It actually opened as the Big Nickel in 1913 as per a contemporaneous article in Construction Magazine.

AJOHMSS
AJOHMSS on December 22, 2010 at 9:31 pm

The picture posted by Grainger on Oct. 19, 2008 is from the summer of 1973.
That is when Toronto turned Yonge Street into a pedestrian mall.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on December 3, 2010 at 10:55 am

Thanks for that for that correction.

Here’s an updated link to the picture of the Rio that I posted on June 5, 2008: View link

JCharles
JCharles on December 3, 2010 at 9:52 am

The closure date is incorrect. The Rio shuttered sometime during the spring of 1991. The last time I walked by the theatre when it was in operation, they were showing THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and DANCES WITH WOLVES, the only time I had ever known the Rio to run less than four movies at once.

Sonystyles
Sonystyles on January 24, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I spent many a Friday night at the Rio back in the late eighties. They used to have the trio at the Rio and was one of the last good grindhouse theaters around. Many people think of this theater as an adult theater, but it was truley more…..

scruffywilber
scruffywilber on January 20, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Here is how it looks as of January 18th 2010

http://i50.tinypic.com/2q3ua2r.jpg

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 26, 2009 at 3:51 pm

Here’s an updated link to the picture I posted on June 5, 2008:
View link

Grainger
Grainger on October 19, 2008 at 1:11 pm

Here it is showing movies released in 1965 , 1967 and 1969.

Going by that and the hair cuts I am going to guess this is from 1969 or 1970 ?

View link

Grainger
Grainger on July 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm

And a similar one but showing more of the surrounding area.

View link

Grainger
Grainger on July 23, 2008 at 5:20 pm

Here is one taken from the 12th floor of the “Delta Chelsea Hotel” across the street in June 2008

View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 22, 2008 at 9:33 pm

At its opening in 1939 in was the National theatre; it became the Rio in 1943. It should have an aka.

Grainger
Grainger on July 21, 2008 at 6:34 pm

Here it is looking south on Yonge from Walton

View link

Grainger
Grainger on July 21, 2008 at 6:29 pm

Here is how it looks now.
I took this photo on July 21st 2008
As you can see their is a “Multi Screen Theatre” upstairs the entrance is on the left.

View link

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on June 5, 2008 at 5:24 am

A 1950 picture of the Rio Theatre in Toronto can be seen here:

View link