Revue Cinema

400 Roncesvalles Avenue,
Toronto, ON M6R 2M9

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socal09
socal09 on June 12, 2011 at 3:29 am

New photos added, taken April 2003.

rbeder
rbeder on March 30, 2008 at 2:05 pm

I just finished reading the article on the Revue Theatre in today’s Toronto Star [30 Mar.2008]. This prompted me to seek out and find this website.
My grandfather, Jacob Smith, owned and operated the Revue along with several other neighbourhood theatres [ The Kum-C, The Pix, & The Odeon Parkdale ]in the 1930s, 1940s, and early 1950s.
I might be able to help shed a little more light on it’s history, and I certainly have an interest in learning more about the present status.
Robert Beder []

SchineHistorian
SchineHistorian on March 30, 2008 at 7:29 am

Article from today’s Toronto Star
http://www.thestar.com/News/Ideas/article/407184
discusses the kind of marquee that should be returned to the Revue.

MAKE IT VINTAGE, FOLKS! And for heaven’s sake resist the urge to make it some LED driven flashing signboard – let’s see a vintage marquee reproduction befitting a 1911 survivor!

AlexL
AlexL on October 18, 2007 at 9:43 am

The cinema re-opened on October 4, 2007 and is running nightly now. Their first film was “Some Like It Hot”, chosen by online poll.

richardg
richardg on June 15, 2007 at 6:08 pm

Glad to here the news — I miss all the Festival theatres. I’d be interested in hearing from others in the Toronto area who might be interested forming a consortium to lease and reopen the Kingway or Paradise. Email me at

KeithDenning
KeithDenning on June 15, 2007 at 3:38 pm

The historic Toronto west-end theatre, the Revue Cinema, closed at the end of June 2006. Over the past year, the hardworking community group, the Revue Film Society, has toiled to find a way to reopen the theatre. Finally, this week, we announced our success.

The Revue has been purchased by local couple Danny and Letty Mullin, who have agreed to lease the building to the Revue Film Society. The RFS, in turn, will operate the cinema. The Revue is expected to be open by the end of summer 2007.

For more information, please visit www.revuecinema.ca

jlangdon
jlangdon on March 7, 2007 at 12:12 pm

There are more pictures of the collapse and clean up at the Torontoist blog.

Steve Munro, local transit advocate, reminisces about the Revue on his site.

jlangdon
jlangdon on February 22, 2007 at 9:04 am

The most recent comment points to pictures of the Revue without its marquee. The marquee collapsed early Sunday morning. Bylaws have been changed since it was built in the 30s so we’ll not see it replaced identically, if at all.

What a shame.

zephr
zephr on October 17, 2006 at 6:33 pm

Hello Lost Memory,

Do you have any information about the Revue theatre, hopefully not another grocery store. The theatre, i would say should be reopened before it is too late.

zephr
zephr on September 26, 2006 at 11:35 am

Hello schmadrian,

Any new information on the future of the revue cinema. I have recently checked the savetherevue website and found that the community organization was not successful in running the cinema, a independant bidder has been accepted as a buyer.

Do you know of any further information about the revue.

schmadrian
schmadrian on July 1, 2006 at 10:55 am

From the Toronto Star, July 1, 2006:

Adieu to Revue? Not if cinema’s fans can help it
`Lawrence' rides one last time
But theatre awaits its white knight

Dozens of protestors bedecked in bowler hats and black ties marched to the Revue Cinema ticket line last night, in a last-ditch effort to save the historic cinema.

But moviegoers like Rob Pearson, 45, and son Ron, 16, came to say goodbye. “We’re marking the end of an era. My son and I have been coming here for about six years. It’s very sad … I can’t see how they’ll ever bring it back,” Pearson said.

Construction began in 1911, and the Revue theatre opened its doors in the spring of 1912, at 400 Roncesvalles Ave. It was one of the last neighbourhood theatres left in Canada.

Over its 95-year existence, it has changed hands as many as seven times, said former manager Keith Denning, 37. The Revue began showing silent movies two years before Charlie Chaplin became a star. In the 1940s, children used to be able to buy a ticket and a glass of milk â€" a treat during wartime rationing â€" for a nickel.

Since then, it’s been a German-language theatre, art-film hot spot, Hollywood blockbuster theatre, and sanctuary for classic-movie lovers seeking their old favourites on the big screen. Fifteen minutes after tickets began selling for last night’s final showing â€" Lawrence of Arabia â€" the Revue had reached its capacity of 245. The line was still meandering around the corner to Howard Park Ave.

But for Susan Flanagan, the fight to save the Revue is anything but hopeless.

“My daughter saw her first movie here as a toddler. We moved to this area because of this theatre,” she said, while 4-year-old Sophie posed for a photo with three Chaplin look-alikes dressed to pay tribute to the era when the Revue was born. “When I was walking home a month ago and saw the sign that it was closing, I knew I had to do something.”

Flanagan began talking with neighbours and other community members. Soon a committee of about 50 people was racing against time to save the theatre. They persuaded Councillor Sylvia Watson to join, and won a small victory when they got it named a heritage site.

Their goal is to operate the theatre as a community-run, not-for-profit business, but the group faces the near-hopeless task of finding at least $40,000 a month to meet operating costs.
Kate McQuillan, who owns the Revue with her two brothers, had planned to attend the final show, but decided in the end to give the seat up to a fan who came to say goodbye.

“I was raised in the theatre industry. I have real mixed emotions here. It’s such a part of our lives, but on the other hand there have (been financial) problems,” she said.

“This is part of the community. But there isn’t a knight on a white horse that’s going to save it. We need people to know that if they want the Revue to stay open, they’d better start coming to watch movies.”

schmadrian
schmadrian on June 30, 2006 at 4:44 pm

I was at the final show tonight, ‘Lawrence of Arabia’. Sold out. Lots of media coverage.

Here’s the local effort to keep the cinema alive.

disco69604
disco69604 on May 25, 2006 at 7:37 am

Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo

menright
menright on May 22, 2006 at 5:32 am

Three rep cinemas to close by end of June
May 18, 2006. 01:00 AM

Three longtime repertory cinema houses â€" the Revue, the Royal and the Kingsway â€" are slated to close by the end of June.

The theatres â€" part of the Festival Cinemas group â€" were owned by cinema entrepreneur Peter McQuillan, who died in October 2004.

Last night, his son Mark told the Star that he and his two siblings made the decision to close the theatres reluctantly.

“The heart and soul was my father. Since (his death), we have been trying our best to run (the business).

``But we don’t have the time, the energy and the financial wherewithal to keep it going,“ said McQuillan, noting difficult market conditions contributed to their decision.

“I feel bad if they are closing. We might get a few more customers but I don’t know what it says for the industry,” said Carmelo Bordonaro, owner of the Bloor Cinema.

“It’s a labour of love, these cinemas, believe me — a lot of hard work,“ Bordonaro said.

Bordonaro, a one-time partner with Peter McQuillan, said he was a “great guy.”

“He loved film, he loved cinemas and he really supported the film industry in a lot of ways. He was an amazing guy. I miss him all the time,” Bordonaro said.

Bordonaro said the entire movie industry is experiencing dramatic changes, with new films being downloaded from the Internet, DVDs being released in a shorter time period following a new film’s release at major theatres, and DVDs also being sold at big discounts.

All those factors and others are making it increasingly difficult for repertory theatres to compete and survive, he said.

richardg
richardg on February 1, 2004 at 8:16 pm

Originally, the Revue sat about 400 but with the installation of wide rockers and reduction of some aisles, seating is now at 240. There is no balcony. The interior has some great looking wall sconces which look art deco and supposedly are original from 1911. Since 1911 predates the art deco era, we can only assume this lighting manufacturer was ahead of its time. The Revue has been part of The Festival theatre chain for approximately 20 years. The chain currently operates 7 older, single screen, neighborhood theatres. I believe they own four and lease the others. The Revue is the smallest of their theatres.