New Yorker Theatre

651 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON M4Y 1Z9

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Showing 25 comments

scruffywilber on February 10, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Actualy I apologize for posting on the wrong thread.
I was just quoting a source of reference to confirm the address of the “Victory Theatre”

With this I bid you farewell I have a plane to catch.

CSWalczak on February 10, 2010 at 6:27 pm

I am sorry if I inadvertently triggered an off-topic discussion; At the time I posted the comment about the Victory above, I was primarily interested in the issue raised by Joe Vogel about the whether the New Yorker was or was not at one time the Victoria.

However, at the time of the posting, “Victory” was listed in the aka list for the New Yorker, and I could not find any support for that name. Quite possibly, Victory was confused with Victoria by someone in the past. It has since been deleted from the aka list above the headnote, but now my remark seems out of place. My attempt at killing two birds with one stone had an unintended result.

scruffywilber on February 10, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Yes I posted that in response to the post five above this one.

telliott on February 10, 2010 at 3:07 pm

The Victory theatre on Spadina already HAS a page here on Cinema Treasures.

scruffywilber on February 10, 2010 at 2:05 pm

The 1947 Toronto Telephone book lists the “Victory Theatre” as being at “287 Spadina”

If you want to check performance times telephone ( WAverley 5006 )

scruffywilber on February 10, 2010 at 2:00 pm

Here is a snap I took on Monday February 8th 2010

I figure it looks better in the dark when it is all lit up.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 2, 2010 at 12:07 am

Thanks for clearing up the confusion.

CSWalczak on February 1, 2010 at 7:55 am

The New Yorker was definitely known as as the Victoria – (there’s a picture of it here; you may have to scroll up or down to see the building as it was and later in 1994): View link

The confusion is due to the fact that there was another Victoria Theatre – specifically Shea’s Victoria – which opened in 1910 and was a very large vaudeville house at 83 Victoria Street, near Richmond, so apparently, at least for awhile, Toronto may have had two Victoria theatres. Shea’s Victoria closed for some years as a theater (possibly made redundant after Shea’s opened the even larger Shea’s Hippodrome in 1914, and vaudeville was fading). It was then re-opened by Famous Players as the Victoria. This indeed was the Victoria that showed “Samson and Delilah”. In the meantime, the Victoria on Yonge changed names at least twice.

I am doubtful, though that the New Yorker was ever known as the Victory; the only Victory Theatre I can find was on Spadina.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 1, 2010 at 5:53 am

I don’t think this theater was ever the Victoria. The Victoria (which opened in 1910) and the Embassy were in operation at the same time in the 1930s and 1940s, and the Victoria and the Astor were both in operation during the early 1950s. The Embassy did become the Astor, right around 1950. Also the Victoria was about twice the size of the Embassy or the Astor. I don’t know if the Victoria is listed here under a later name or not. If it is, it’s missing the Victoria aka. I’ve been unable to discover an address for it.

Here is a 1950 Boxoffice article about the reopening of the Victoria that year (lower right corner of page.) The Victoria was a Famous Players house. The Embassy/Astor was operated by Ben Ulster during this period.

scruffywilber on January 21, 2010 at 6:00 pm

That brings back memories thank you but I seem to recall an even bigger Gorilla at one time and it was climbing the building like the Gorilla in King Kong.

Here is a night time photo I took in February 2009.

View link

CSWalczak on January 11, 2010 at 11:55 pm

Is this picture of the New Yorker what Grainger and JBUSHLOW are looking for? View link

JohnnyCool on January 11, 2010 at 8:02 pm

I know I have seen photos of the New Yorker with the gorilla atop it, but not for many years.

It doubled as a live music venue and cinema for a time in the mid ‘70s, and played host to a Talking Heads/Ramones double bill amongst other shows that I have no knowledge of (I was at that Talking Heads/Ramones show, and TH drummer Chris Frantz told me in recent years that he remembers the gorilla on the roof!).

PeterD on July 22, 2009 at 7:31 pm

I was the senior projectionist at the Showcase between 1986 and the day it closed in 1991 and by far and away, this was the best booth I ever worked. It was a single with a platter, Vic-8 and CP-200 Sound, fully-manually operated, no automation of any kind. I vividly remember running The Last Emporer in 70mm for almost a year. Can’t say it was a favorite movie of mine, but I got a lot of reading done that year and made a ton of OT!

This was a very odd place to work. You parked down at the back of a side alley, climbed up a steel staircase and walked across the roof by the back of the booth—which was a set into the roof of the theatre. The throw was very short and on about a 15 degree angle, IIRC. We ran mostly art films with low attendance numbers as well as being a key theatre for the Festival every September. We had a number of World Premieres there in my time, too.

JBUSHLOW on November 14, 2008 at 11:10 am

Does anyone know where I can find a photo of this?

JBUSHLOW on November 14, 2008 at 11:09 am

When it was “The New Yorker” it had a massive model of “King Kong” on the building.

Does anyone know where I can find a photo of this?


Grainger on July 21, 2008 at 6:48 pm

When it was “The New Yorker” it had a massive model of “King Kong” climbing the building.

Does anyone know what happened to that?

Grainger on July 21, 2008 at 6:45 pm

Here it is from a different angle you get a better view of the old facade under that mesh netting.
View link
And here it is from around the back.
View link
View link

Grainger on July 21, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Here is the “Panasonic” as it looks now.
I took this photo July 21st 2008.
You can see the old frontage under the “Mesh” but I think the frontage is all that is left I went around the back and it appears to be total modern.

View link

CSWalczak on June 12, 2008 at 9:55 am

Here’s a direct link to the picture of it as the Embassy:

and here is is as the Astor:

CSWalczak on June 10, 2008 at 7:44 am

Unfortunately that link to the picture of the Embassy is not working. You can see the picture by going to the Images database at the Ontario Archives site at:

View link

and entering ‘Embassy Theatre’ in the search window.

CSWalczak on June 9, 2008 at 2:21 pm

This theatre had apparently had a number of other names during its lifetime. Its opening name may have been the Victoria (rather than the Victory); it became the Embassy in 1935, then the Astor in 1949.
Its first incarnation as the New Yorker started in 1962, may have been briefly an adult theatre called in the Tivoli in the early 70s.
It became the Festival in 1978, the Showcase in 1986, and gian give the name New Yorker in 1998.

Here it is as the Embassy in 1937:

View link

GeoffreyPaterson on July 13, 2005 at 4:06 am

The status of this theatre should be changed to “Demolished”, and the new Panasonic Theatre should become a separate listing. As jLangdon notes above, the old building, except for the facade wall from the second floor up, was torn down. I walk past the site on my way to work every day and watched the process this past spring. Even what is left of the facade is barely visible behind a post-modern screen treatment. The new Panasonic Theatre is completely new construction literally from the ground up.

In spite of this, every review of the new show (or of the new theatre, for that matter) that I have read in the local press insists in referring to it as a “renovation” or “refurbishment” of the New Yorker Theatre. As with the January 17 article posted above, I suspect these words are from corporate press releases and not original research on the part of any of the writers. Calling this a “renovation” or “refurbishment” is the same as if someone were to refer to the parking lot that covers the site of Toronto’s late-lamented Uptown Theatre as a “renovation”. I think not.

telliott on February 25, 2005 at 12:24 pm

I forgot to mention that when it was owned by Cineplex Odeon it was called the Showcase Cinema.

telliott on February 25, 2005 at 12:23 pm

This theatre was also owned for awhile by Cineplex Odeon in the late 80s/early 90s. It had the exclusive engagement of the Academy Award winning Best Picture of 1987 “The Last Emperor” which I saw there in full 70MM. It was a great location right at the Yonge/Bloor intersection when that was THE centre of moviegoing with the Uptown 5, Towne Cinema, Plaza Twin, Varsity Twin, University and Cumberland 4. Those were the days.

jlangdon on February 25, 2005 at 9:28 am

The facade has been saved, but from what I saw through the hoardings, the body of the New Yorker theatre was demolished.

J. Langdon