Uptown Theatre

764 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON M4Y

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Interior, Uptown 1

Viewing: Photo | Street View

With an original seating capacity of 3,000, the Uptown Theatre was one of Toronto’s largest theatre’s.

It was damaged by a fire in the 1960’s, which gutted the main auditorium. Following the fire, the theatre was rebuilt. The Uptown Theatre reopened and continued to show movies when it was closed in September, 2003.

The theatre was demolished in December, 2003. During the demolition a crane hit a support beam in the auditorium and killed a civilian in a building next door and injured 14 other people.

Famous Players has announced that it will replace the Uptown Theatre with a ten-screen movie center across the street, which will be part of a condo-plus-retail complex at 1 Bloor St. E. planned by the development company Nastapoka.

Contributed by Jason R

Recent comments (view all 51 comments)

milanp
milanp on January 3, 2012 at 12:09 am

TIFF is an unholy monster, and the Uptown was just one of many casualties in their march to world (film festival) dominance. End of story, eh, Canucks?

igoudge
igoudge on January 3, 2012 at 1:56 am

No offence Milanp, sounds like you have attended TIFF at some point, but definitely didnt follow the Uptown story long enough as mentioned earlier. Tiff only ran the Uptown for a matter of days to finish the rental back in 2003, the year it closed and screened the final 20 films or so. But it was Famous, not TIFF, who ran/owned the building and abandoned it when the lease was up for other ventures when they and Cineplex were merging in the early Aughts. After the merger that was talk of a new multiplex under the One Bloor property but with the location of the Varsity, and now Cumberland along with the recession, that project was abandoned. Dont get me wrong I miss the venue loads too, but make sure to point the finger in the right direction.

A_Proud_Canadian
A_Proud_Canadian on January 3, 2012 at 7:17 am

Hey “milanp”, its not end of the story yet. Where is the proof that the T.I.F.F. caused the Uptown to close? Where did you get the facts? Why are you defending Viacom? Just because you said so? Sure T.I.F.F. is a big film festival. Just plain ignorance and refusing to listen to everyone on this board. I can give you the links as proof it has nothing to do with T.I.F.F. I can email to you the links of news articles of Uptown’s closure if you want. But you won’t because you are afraid of admitting being wrong.

A_Proud_Canadian
A_Proud_Canadian on January 3, 2012 at 9:23 am

Yeah I know “milanp”, many theatres were lost during T.I.F.F.’s existence and were used by the organization. Then again,the closure of Uptown, University, Showcase, etc, has nothing do with T.I.F.F. T.I.F.F. didn’t use the Varsity despite being modern on their last festival and it didn’t closed. How would you know T.I.F.F.was demanding modern facilities? Where is your evidence? This is just plain coincidence those old theatres were used for T.I.F.F. There are a lot of demolished, closed and abandoned theatres in the U.S.lots of examples on this website. Those every demolished, closed and abandoned theatres in the U.S.shows Americans really cares about their preservation of their old cinemas. Talk about hypocrisy.

rl_83
rl_83 on May 28, 2012 at 8:53 am

The decision to close the Uptown was probably more related to Real Estate assets rather than anything to do with Wheelchair Access.

If the story of the Uptown is anything like the Capitol 6 was in Vancouver, FP owned the property. Even in 2005 dollars, the property was worth tens of millions of dollars. Guess what replaced it? “ The Capitol Residences ”. Sound familiar?

The overly bloated figure of $700,000 ( maybe they got quotes from government contractors ) seems to be totally unrealistic, and used the whole fiasco as a vehicle to unload some prime Toronto real estate.

That’s my thoughts on the subject.

laserboyTO
laserboyTO on February 27, 2013 at 10:53 pm

Ignore the troll. Here’s the story, I have worked for Famous Players (now Cineplex) since the late 1980’s. A human rights complaint was made at another downtown theatre for not being accessible, the ruling came down that cinemas had to be made accessible (including restrooms) and they had two years to do it. The cost was prohibitive in many theatres plus the Uptown was an expensive old theatre to keep operating so Famous closed all of their theatres that they owned and sold off the properties and once leases expired in locations that they leased they didn’t renew and closed them too. Other casualties of this era in downtown/uptown Toronto were the Plaza, Hollywood, Eglinton & Sheraton theatres. Their new “brand” theatres were built on properties with much better leasing terms and were much more efficient (read, profitable) to run. The Uptown was demolished despite an attempt to get it designated a heritage building but because there are two surviving examples of architect Thomas Lamb’s theatres in Toronto, The Ed Mirvish Theatre (formally Canon Theatre/Pantages Theatre/Imperial Six cinemas/Imperial Theatre) and the Elgin Wintergarden Theatres (formally the the Yonge theatre in the late 60’s/70’s early 80’s and before that, Loew’s Yonge Street theatre) so the heritage designation was not granted and was demolished to make way for a condominium development – the Uptown condos. The Uptown was a great place to see movies and a favorate for movie goers. Each year TIFF paid rental rates for the theatres they used during the film festival and theatre staff and management operated during the theatres along with an army of TIFF volunteers and paid festival reps. who pretty much took charge of all front-of-house operations.

rl_83
rl_83 on May 29, 2013 at 5:36 am

“ Ignore the troll ”

Moi?

DavidDymond
DavidDymond on May 29, 2013 at 10:45 pm

LaserboyTO is absolutely correct about the refusal of Famous Players to retrofit some of their older theatres for handicapped. It would have been cost prohibitive and these theatres were at the end of their commercial lives. They had built the Paramount just a few blocks to the south but what did the handicapped do— they went and protested and actually sued Famous Players over the uptown. The decision was made just to close these old theatres and that decision was the correct one! I worked for Famous Players 11 years and actually worked at the Uptown for a while!!

JCharles
JCharles on September 22, 2013 at 7:56 pm

This entry needs to be updated to include the Uptown Backstage 1 & 2, two additional screens operating on the other side of the building, that opened on May 20th, 1970. I will add an advertisement for the opening to the photo section.

rivest266
rivest266 on March 6, 2014 at 12:05 am

September 18th, 1920 grand opening ad in photo section.

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