Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

506 Bloor Street West,
Toronto, ON M5S 1Y3

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Bloor Hot Docs Cinema - Balcony

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the Madison Theatre on December 23, 1913 with the feature “Alexia’s Strategy”. It was renovated in the early-1940’s and in 1943 it was known as the Midtown Theatre. The 997-seat Bloor Cinema has been in operation ever since and became a second-run cinema.

In March 2012 it was renamed Bloor Hot Docs Cinema after a $3 million renovation It is now a premiere cinema for the Hot Docs International Film Festival, and also shows regular first-run and repertory programming. Thea seating capacity has been reduced to 727.

Contributed by Jason R

Recent comments (view all 40 comments)

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on July 2, 2009 at 6:51 am

If the structure mentioned by CWalczak was actually the same building that we now know as the Bloor Cinema, what happened? How did that charming structure turn into the ugly looking exterior that now faces Bloor Street?

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 2, 2009 at 8:53 am

It is puzzling; were it not for the fact that the building to the right of the theatre appears to remain the same (right down the connection for utility wires on the building’s extreme left), one might think that one of the archival pictures is mislabled. I think it is possible that the building in the 1919 picture may have completely replaced for some reason. (Perhaps too it was only the building through which one entered the auditorium section). Comparing the 1945 and 1917 pictures, it would appear that the building to the left of the theatre was replaced, as it is not as high as the theatre building whereas in the 1919 picture the building to the left theatre was just about as high as the theatre’s facade.

Azzaelea
Azzaelea on November 12, 2009 at 12:22 pm

The Bloor Cinema appeared in a season 1 episode of CBC’s “Being Erica” called “Mi Casa, Su Casa Loma”.

Not only did they set the scene by showing an exterior shot, but also Erica and friends inside.

The episode in question is available on online, with advertisements, for Canadians, here—> View link

danimbrogno
danimbrogno on October 25, 2010 at 1:34 pm

The official Bloor cinema website is back online the address is:

http://www.bloorcinema.com

Please update the link in the description above.

JCharles
JCharles on January 3, 2011 at 1:23 pm

A two part 2006 documentary on the history of the Bloor —

Part 1:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X-tL7P2pHDQ

Part 2:
View link

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

Hey all, the Bloor’s correct opening date is December 23, 1913 (as the Madison). You can read a little more about it at my site Silent Toronto.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 26, 2011 at 11:46 pm

I enjoy your site, Eric. Perhaps you could shed some light on an puzzle that has intrigued me and others such as Jon Lidolt for some time. It is known that this theater was born as the Madison, then became the Midtown, and then the Bloor Cinema (along with at least two other names at various points). Looking at the pictures of the theatre over the decades, we wonder when (if not how) the theatre’s façade changed so radically from its appearance as the Madison, with its stately lower facade, its arched cornice, and bay windows to the rather dull street face it has now and from at least the Midtown period. It is as if that grander original façade was ripped off and replaced with the dull brick front which it now sports. I have always wondered if this is what happened or if perhaps a new building housing the entrance was built, probably in the 1940’s. (See the comments above from June 26, 27, and July 2, 2009 and pictures that are linked to in a number of the comments).

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 25, 2011 at 11:02 am

Sometime in 2008, The Bloor held the premiere of “My Dinner With Jimi”. A film by Howard Kaylan, lead singer of `60’s folk rock group The Turtles. The film chronicled the night in London he met Jimi Hendrix & The Beatles.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on March 25, 2011 at 11:04 am

Incidentally, Howard Kaylan was in attendance at the premiere & answered audience questions. He thanked the Bloor staff & the press for their reception on his official website.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 2, 2012 at 11:59 pm

Eric Veillette, on one of the articles he later wrote for his Silent Toronto website, did unravel the mystery of why the Midtown/Bloor’s facade looks so different from that of its earlier incarnation as the Madison. The current theater is a essentially a new structure built in 1940 and opened in 1941. Only some outer sidewalls from the Madison were retained. The article is here: http://silenttoronto.com/?p=2035

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