University Theatre

100 Bloor Street West,
Toronto, ON M5S 1M4

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Soon after the University opened

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened on March 25, 1949, the University Theatre was one of the first movie theaters in North America to not only feature 70mm projection, but also a THX Dolby Surround Sound system. It was a good-sized theater with a balcony so large that there was a snack bar on it as well as on the main floor.

It was a very popular theater for its entire run and screened several significant premieres, including "Apocalypse Now" and a special double bill of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" with a rare preview for the trailer of "Return of the Jedi" before it came out and was known as "Revenge of the Jedi."

Despite a petition of over 25,000 people, it was closed when the property value became too great to continue operating as a theater. The University Theatre was demolished in 1986 and, today, only its rebuilt facade remains, fronting a newly constructed retail structure.

Contributed by J.D. Lafrance

Recent comments (view all 47 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 4, 2016 at 12:56 pm

The History Press is part of the Arcadia Publishing Company, which publishes mostly books of vintage photos with a little bit of text to pad them out. In my experience, most of their books do have at least a few inaccuracies, and some of them have many, and there are probably many more errors that I didn’t even notice.

Between them the two divisions of the company publish about 900 books a year, and their primary focus is not history but nostalgia, for which there is huge market. I don’t think their books will ever provide the degree of historical accuracy that one would expect from, say, a University press, though some are clearly better researched than others. Still, the pictures are nice to have, so I’m glad the company is publishing them.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 4, 2016 at 1:05 pm

Also, here’s some link rot re-repair:

Main floor lounge of the University Theatre as depicted on the cover of the July 2, 1949, issue of Boxoffice.

The illustrated article about the University in the “Modern Theatre” section of the same issue:

first page

second page

chuckkahn
chuckkahn on January 5, 2016 at 1:08 pm

I don’t think you’re being too hard on Doug Taylor’s book. Mistakes are mistakes, and it’s frustrating to see inaccuracies serve as ingredients in something people might use as an information resource. I wonder how many libraries are putting this book on their shelves for the consumption of poor unwitting readers. Mr. Taylor should have checked this website for clippings such as this ad for Lawrence of Arabia that lists the Carlton as the theatre: http://cinematreasures.org/members/coasternut/photos/125837

jerryross
jerryross on January 5, 2016 at 2:22 pm

To both GiLG and chuckkahn: Come on people, get a life. Give Mr. Taylor and us a break.

chuckkahn
chuckkahn on January 6, 2016 at 8:42 am

To the taunting jerryross: Why should Mr. Taylor get a break for putting out a book full of errors? If there is a more suitable medium for addressing the errors in Mr. Taylor’s book, please point the way. Otherwise, let’s applaud GiLG’s efforts at documenting them.

GilG
GilG on January 6, 2016 at 10:20 am

Chuck, Thank you for your comments. Much appreciated. I was surprised by jerryross’s post. I would have thought that anyone using this site would want the most accurate details possible. But in this particular case, I guess not. Very puzzling.

GilG
GilG on January 6, 2016 at 10:49 am

Oh, and Chuck, I forgot to mention something about your comment about this book being on library shelves. The Toronto Public Library has 19 print copies in branches across their system (including one in the Reference Library), and e-book downloads. And the University of Toronto has 5 copies (one each located in Innis College, St. Michael’s College, Victoria and University Colleges, and The Robarts Library, the University’s main humanities and social sciences research facility. So this is why I’m so concerned about the dissemination of inaccurate information.

chuckkahn
chuckkahn on January 6, 2016 at 10:55 am

GilG, this is really disturbing that our libraries are being used to disseminate inaccurate information. What was your count for the number of errors in Mr. Taylor’s book?

robboehm
robboehm on January 6, 2016 at 12:23 pm

If you really want inaccurate information go to any historical society.

Chris1982
Chris1982 on January 6, 2016 at 9:20 pm

Why not publish a book with the accurate information and make sure its in the libraries mentioned. That way the accurate information will be out there.

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