Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre

189 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON M5B 1M4

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Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre

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The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Center is a fully-restored double decker theater, which is a combination of two previously separated theaters: the Elgin Theatre and the Winter Garden Theatre.

The Elgin Theatre opened on December 15, 1913 as a Loew’s theater and was used for vaudeville. The theater was remodeled in the late-1920’s for sound movies.

The Winter Garden Theater opened with 1,422 seats, on February 16 1914 and closed in 1928, when it became part of the Elgin Theatre.

The theaters were restored and reopened on Dec 15, 1989, 76 years to the day of their original opening on Dec. 15, 1913. One theater has 1,563 seats, while the other has 981.

Guided tours are held Thursday
at 5 pm, and Saturday at 11 am. Special tours can be arranged and booked through the theater at 416-314-2871 or 416-597-0956

Contributed by Jason R, Bryan Arseneau

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

robboehm
robboehm on February 17, 2011 at 5:24 pm

If you’re ever in Toronto, make sure you take the free tour.

socal09
socal09 on June 7, 2011 at 2:15 am

The interior of the upstairs auditorium, The Winter Garden, is amazing with all the leaves dangling from the ceiling.

robboehm
robboehm on July 18, 2012 at 3:24 pm

That was then. The restoration is superb. They even included mirrors in the lobby which were part of the original design but not installed at the time of consturction. As I commented above, this is a must see. Unfortunately the Winter Garden, under the restoration/landmark rule does not have a regular projection system. When they do have a film presentation, which they did when last I was there, they had to bring in “portable” equipment.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 18, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Hello To Canadian Neighbors-

i’m from NYC and have been posting a question on pages for big cities of which Toronto is certainly one. here goes- the big era of grand old movie theater building or palaces to use the popular term in the U.S. was approx. 1913-1941. now none of the grand old movie theaters/palaces built in this period in NYC specifically as 1st run theaters continue to do so if if they’re still standing. now L.A. has Grauman’s Chinese among a few and Washington,D.C. has the Uptown but like NYC San Francisco has zippo. so i was wondering if any of the grand old movie theaters/ palaces built in Toronto in the above mentioned period have continued to operate as 1st run venues in more or less their original condition since the day they opened.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 18, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Hello Again-

i admit i’m not the world’s best typist. so in my post it should read “even if they’re still standing”.

robboehm
robboehm on July 18, 2012 at 7:27 pm

From my Toronto trips I would say that anything that is still intact from “the day” is now used for concert or legit presentations. There are very few single screens in Toronto. If you want to do some research just enter Toronto and look at every theatre. If CT says single screen and open then look at the individual entries for details. And on that subject, the Beacon in NYC is a concert venue. There are a few Broadway Theatres which have films in their history, but I can’t recall if any of them were originally film or just showed films at some point. Also, on Staten Island, the St. George has been beautifully restored and sometimes shows films. Some fabulous pictures on the site. Also check out the Hudson in NYC. Great restoration. A lot of the biggies became churches. The Albemarle in Brooklyn is amazing.

In San Francisco, the cavernous Golden Gate is used for live theatre. I believe it started out with films

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 18, 2012 at 10:26 pm

I think the last operating true movie palace in downtown Toronto was probably the Uptown, also a Thomas Lamb design of the 1920s, which closed and was razed in 2003. There are at least two single screen theaters still operating in Toronto that date to the 1940s or even earlier; the Kingsway and the Bloor. The twinned Fox in the eastern part of the city dates to 1914. There is also the twinned Humber, which opened in 1949 (although its current status seems a bit uncertain).

Regarding San Francisco: most San Franciscans as well as myself certainly regard the landmark Castro Theater as a palace (though perhaps less elegant than say the long gone Fox and Paramount there). Also there is an operating porn theater, the Market Street Cinema which had long and distinguished history; it was once a Grauman house and a Loew’s and hosted a number of roadshows in the 1960s before it became what it is now. San Francisco still has some historic and classic neighborhood houses; look at the San Francisco list of theaters for some of these survivors.

telliott
telliott on July 19, 2012 at 10:09 am

As a native Torontonian I can attest that all of the original movie palaces (Imperial, Loews, Loews Uptown, Sheas etc) are gone or have other uses, most notably the Imperial, now the Ed Mirvish legitmate theatre and Loews, the Elgin/Winter Garden. There are a few single screens left, the Fox and Revue being the oldest, then the Kingsway, Royal, Mt Pleasant, Regent and Bloor. The single screen Eglinton which opened as a neighbourhood theatre in 1936 and went on to become one of the most successful roadshow houses in the city is now an event theatre (weddings, banquets etc) as is the single screen Capitol.

bigjoe59
bigjoe59 on July 23, 2012 at 7:03 pm

Hello Again-

i hope i understood my fellow posters replies correctly. to which that none of the grand old movie theaters or palaces to use the popular term built in Toronto specifically to be 1st run houses are still in operation as such from the day they opened. this puts Toronto in the same boat as NYC, Chicago and San Francisco.

also to my fellow poster’s comment on the Castro Theater in San Francisco. the Castro is most certainly a movie palace and it deserves our admiration in that its in damn good shape and has continued in operation since it opened in 1922. but and there’s always a but. my original post or inquiry was about grand old movie theaters/ palaces that were built from the get go specifically as 1st run theaters. unfortunately the Castro doesn’t qualify since its always been my understanding that the theater was built from the get go as a 2nd/3rd run neighborhood theater.

rivest266
rivest266 on March 1, 2014 at 5:43 pm

The December 15th, 1913 opening ad as Loew’s can be found in the photo section.

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