Parliament Cinema

309 Parliament Street,
Toronto, ON M5A 2A8

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Parliament Cinema

This neighborhood theatre opened as the Bluebell Theatre prior to 1925. It was renamed the Gay Theatre in 1954 and closed for a while in the early-1970’s. It re-opened in 1973 as the Parliament Cinema, screening East Indian movies and finally closed around 1983

Contributed by Christopher Walczak

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

AJOHMSS on December 22, 2010 at 8:58 pm

It was used as a booze can from about ‘86 to '87.
I have a photo I took in 1987 that I will upload when the photo function returns.

JCharles on December 27, 2010 at 7:30 am

That closure date is incorrect. I recently ran across an ad for a double bill of THE PROUD RIDER and OUTLAW RIDERS from 1972, so the closure was sometime after that.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 12, 2011 at 2:52 pm

The Bluebell was in operation at least as early as 1925, and probably earlier. “The Storms Below,” a biography of Canadian writer Hugh Garner, quotes a letter from a former childhood neighbor of Garner, who lived in the area in the 1920s, which mentions the matinees at the Bluebell Theatre. Google Books preview.

CSWalczak on December 10, 2012 at 8:12 am

Here is a picture of this theatre in its final incarnation as the Parliament Cinema. As such, it should not be confused with an earlier and much larger Parliament Theatre which was once a few blocks away.

This webpage includes a reminiscence of Cabbagetown resident who attended the theatre as a youth when it was the Gay Theatre.

KOATV on December 4, 2015 at 7:03 am

Actually… THIS Parliament Cinema never closed in 1979. The fact of the matter was that it became a hugely popular Indian & Pakistani movie house from 1973 that was owned by South Asian Media architect & patriarch, SGP Jafry (on the cusp of celebrating our industry’s 50th year) where major films of the time were with names like Amitabh Bachchan (yep, Aishwariya Rai’s F-In Law). This theatre did in fact continue to go until something like… 1983 or 1984 when our Indian & Pakistani films, then on videotapes essentially killed the businesses of all our movie houses.

DavidZornig on November 6, 2019 at 4:41 pm

1981 photo added credit Don Dickinson.

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