Tag Archives: Loew’s Downtown Theatre

A cartoon about “Gone With the Wind.”

February 25, 2014 Toronto Star--

This cartoon was in the Toronto Star on February 28, 2015. The cartoon brought back memories of the first time I saw the film “Gone With the Wind.” It was in the mid-1950s, at Loew’s Downtown Theatre, which is today named the Elgin. For links to the history of this magnificent historic theatre :

Elgin Theatre (Loew’s Downtown)

Elgin/Winter/Garden Theatres on Yonge Street

Below are links to over 130 of Toronto’s old movie theatres:

Adelphi Theatre (Kum Bac) on Dovercourt Road

Alhambra Theatre on Bloor Street, west of Bathurst Street

Allen’s Bloor Theatre, (now Lee’s Palace)

Allenby on the Danforth

Apollo (Crystal) Theatre on Dundas West

Avon Theatre at 1092 Queen Street West

Bay (Colonial Theatre) at Queen and Bay

The Bayview Theatre

Beaver Theatre in the Junction area at Keele and Dundas Street West

Bell Lightbox (TIFF)

Bellevue Theatre on College Street that became the Lux Burlesque Theatre

The Biltmore Theatre on Yonge, north of Dundas St.

Birchcliff Theatre on Kingston Rd.

Bloor Hot Docs Cinema on Bloor Street West

Bloordale Theatre (the State) on Bloor St. West, near Dundas Street.

Blue Bell (Gay) Theatre on Parliament Street

Bonita (Gerrard) Theatre on Gerrard East

Brighton Theatre on Roncesvalles Avenue

The Brock Theatre (the Gem)

Cameo Theatre

Capitol Theatre on Yonge at Castlefield

Carlton Theatre on Parliament Street

Casino Burlesque Theatre on Queen Street 

Cineplex Eaton Centre

Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theatre at Bloor and Bay

Cineplex Theatre at Yonge and Dundas Streets

Circle Theatre

College Theatre at College St. and Dovercourt Rd.

Colony Theatre at Vaughan Road and Eglinton Avenue

Coronet Theatre (Savoy) on Yonge St. at Gerrard

Crown Theatre on Gerrard St. East

Danforth Music Hall (Allen’s Danforth)

Donlands Theatre

Downtown Theatre (now demolished) at Yonge and Dundas

Duchess Theatre (Circle) on Dundas West

Eastwood Theatre on Gerrard St. East

Ed Mirvish Theatre (the Pantages, Imperial and Cannon)

Eglinton Theatre

Elgin Theatre (Loew’s Downtown)

Elgin/Winter/Garden Theatres on Yonge Street

Empire (Rialto, Palton) on Queen East

Esquire (Lyndhurst) Theatre on Bloor Street West

Garden Theatre at 290 College Street.

Glendale Theatre on Avenue Rd.

Golden Mile Theatre on Eglinton East

Grant Theatre on Oakwood Avenue near Vaughan Road

Greenwood Theatre (the Guild)

Grover on Danforth Avenue

Hillcrest Theatre on Christie Street, south of Dupont St.

Hollywood Theatre on the east side of Yonge Street, north of St. Clair Avenue.

Imperial and Downtown Theatres on Yonge Street (archival photos)

Iola (Ace, Regal) on Queen St. East

Island Theatre on Centre Island

Kent Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

Kenwood Theatre on Bloor St. West

King Theatre at College and Manning Streets

Kingsway Theatre in the Kingsway Village on Bloor St. West

KUM-C Theatre in Parkdale

La Plaza Theatre (the Opera House) on Queen Street East

La Salle Theatre on Dundas, near Spadina

Lansdowne Theatre on Lansdowne Avenue, north of Bloor St. West

Loew’s Uptown Theatre (the Uptown)

Major St. Clair Theatre on St. Clair Avenue, east of Old Weston Road.

The Mayfair Theatre at Jane and Annette

Metro Theatre at 679 Bloor West

Mount Dennis Theatre on Weston Rd, north of Eglinton

Mount Pleasant (Hudson) Theatre

Nortown Theatre on Eglinton, west of Bathurst St.

The Oakwood Theatre on Oakwood Avenue, near St. Clair Avenue West

The Oakwood Theatre, Part II

Odeon Carlton at Yonge and Carlton Streets

Odeon Carlton Theatre

Odeon Danforth Theatre on the Danforth, near Pape Avenue

Odeon Humber theatre at Bloor and Jane Streets (now Humber Cinemas)

Odeon Hyland Theatre at Yonge and St. Clair

Odeon Theatre On Queen West in Parkdale

Orpheum Theatre on Queen St., west of Bathurst

Palace Theatre on the Danforth

Palace Theatre on the Danforth near Pape Avenue

Panasonic Theatre on Yonge Street

Paradise (Eve’s Paradise)

Paramount Theatre on St. Clair West, between Oakwood and Dufferin streets.

Parkdale Theatre on Queen Street, near Roncesvalles

Photodrome (Ace) Theatre on Queen St. West

Pickford (Auditorium, Avenue) Theatre

The Princess Theatre on King Street

Radio City Theatre on Bathurst, south of St. Clair.

Regent Theatre on Mt. Pleasant Rd. (the Belsize, the Crest)

Revue Theatre at 400 Roncesvalles Avenue

Rex Theatre (the Joy)

Rivoli Theatre on Queen Street West

Royal Alexandra Theatre

Royal George Theatre on St. Clair W., west of Dufferin Street.

Royal Theatre on Dundas Street

Royal Theatre (the Pylon) on College St.

Runnymede Theatre in the Bloor West Village

Scarboro Theatre

Scotiabank Theatre at Richmond and John Streets

Shea’s Hippodrome Theatre on Bay St. near Queen

Shea’s Victoria (The Victoria) at Victoria and Adelaide Streets

St. Clair Theatre, west of Dufferin Street

Teck Theatre on Queen St. East

The Tivoli Theatre on Richmond Street East

Toronto’s first movie screening and its first movie theatre

Town Cinema on Bloor East, near Yonge Street

University Theatre on Bloor St., west of Bay Street.

Uptown 5 Multiplex Theatre on Yonge south of Bloor

Vaughan Theatre on St. Clair Avenue 

Victory burlesque and movie theatre on Spadina at Dundas:

Village Theatre on Spadina Road in Forest Hill Village

Westwood Theatre on Bloor Street West near Six Points

The Willow Theatre on north Yonge St. in Willowdale

York Theatre on Yonge near Bloor St.

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  


              To place an order for this book: .

Book also available at Chapters/Indigo, the book shop at the Bell Lightbox or University of Toronto Press at 416-667-7791

ISBN # 978.1.62619.450.2

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view posts about Toronto’s history and its heritage architecture:


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Photos of Toronto’s Loew’s Downtown Theatre (now the Elgin)


In all seasons, the landscapes of Ontario appear splendid under sunny skies, but after sunset, deep forest shadows and darkened rural pastures are less inviting. I would suggest it is the opposite with cities. The harsh sunlight of the day displays their wrinkles and warts, but after the sun sets and the twinkling lights emerge, cities develop a charm that I find irresistible. Buildings that are mere brick and cement during the day, after daylight fades, magically emerge as works of art, especially if the structures are floodlit. When I gaze at some of Toronto’s historic structures at night, I catch a fleeing glimpse of these grand old structures as Torontonians might have seen them in the past. The magnificent Elgin Theatre on Yonge Street, near Queen, is one of these romantic buildings. Gazing at it when it is bathed in the soft lights of evening, I recall entering its doors as a teenager in the 1950s to see the greatest movie ever filmed—“Gone With the Wind.” However, the theatre did not appear as in the above photo, as when I saw the famous movie in the theatre in the1950s, it still possessed its grand marquee with its myriad of electric lights.

I have already placed a post on this blog (May 31, 2012) about the Elgin Theatre and Winter Garden, detailing their story from when they opened in December,1913 (the Elgin) and the Winter Garden in February 1914, until the present time. The following is a link to this post:

The Elgin/Winter Garden Theatres are two of the best vaudeville venues built during the early years of the 20th century. As the decades progressed, the Elgin transitioned into a vaudeville/movie house, and finally into a movie picture palace. The facade is neo-classical in design and its interior continues in this style, with marble columns, gilded plaster trim, a seven-storey staircase. The Winter Garden Theatre, which is above the Elgin, resembled a roof-top garden, the only one remaining in Canada. It possessed real leaves, support columns masquerading as tree trunks, and scenically painted walls.

Research in the City of Toronto Archives has discovered photos that were previously unknown to me of these famous theatres. The purpose of this post is to share them. 

Series 1278, File 100

A view gazing north on Yonge Street from Queen, the Elgin (then named Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre) on the right-hand (east) side of Yonge. The featured film is “Mutiny on the Bounty,” starring Charles Laughton and Clark Gable, released in 1935. 

1922-Series 1278, File 100 DSCN0192

The same view as the above photo, but closer to the auditorium doors, a view of the candy bar evident. The cigarette machine appears out of place today.

                  Series 881-File 53   (2)

              The grand entrance hallway after restoration in the 1980s.

                     Seriesw 881, File 53    (3)

View from the balcony of the Elgin, in the 1980s. City of Toronto Archives, Series 881, File 53. 

1922--Series 1278, File 100  DSCN0189

A section of the staircase that led from the Loew’s Downtown Theatre to the Winter Garden above in 1922. Photo from the City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 100.



This advertisement was painted on the south facade of Loew’s Downtown Theatre (Elgin). The signage likely dates from the 1920s, when the theatre featured vaudeville. I believe that it reads: “Loew’s—Leader in Toronto—New Starts Daily.” This photo was taken in 2011. By 2013, it had deteriorated so badly that it was almost impossible to read.

1922, Series 1278, File 100 DSCN0194   1922, Series 1278, File 100 DSCN0196

Interior of the Winter Garden in 1922. City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 100.


            Interior of the Winter Garden during “Doors Open Toronto” in 2011.

DSCN7122   Series 881, File 63   DSCN0332

Seats in the Winter Garden in 2011 (left) and the original seats in the Elgin (Loew’s Downtown)


                        The Elgin Theatre in 2012.


A model in the theatre that depicts a cross-section of the Elgin/Winter Garden Complex. It views the complex from the south, so the theatre auditoriums are not visible. The left-hand side of the model depicts the section that faces Yonge Street. The long hallway that forms an entrance to the Elgin is at the bottom-right of the model. This model shows the complex after it was purchased and restored by the Ontario Heritage Foundation.

DSCN6993   DSCN7289

The signage on Elgin Theatre and Winter Garden Complex (left) and the theatre’s facade during the summer of 2013 (right).

To view the Home Page for this blog:

To view previous posts on this blog about other movie houses of Toronto—old and new

To view links to other posts placed on this blog about the history of Toronto and its buildings:

Recent publication entitled “Toronto’s Theatres and the Golden Age of the Silver Screen,” by the author of this blog. The publication explores 50 of Toronto’s old theatres and contains over 80 archival photographs of the facades, marquees and interiors of the theatres. It also relates anecdotes and stories from those who experienced these grand old movie houses.  


              To place an order for this book: .






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