Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre

189 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON M5B 1M4

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Showing 26 - 44 of 44 comments

CSWalczak on January 6, 2010 at 4:17 am

Here’s an updated link to the 1929 photo I posted on June 4, 2008: View link

CSWalczak on January 6, 2010 at 3:57 am

Elgin/Winter Garden prior to restoration: View link

CSWalczak on August 29, 2009 at 6:43 pm

Photo of the Winter Garden’s side boxes:
View link

igoudge on July 8, 2009 at 2:44 pm

Once the Uptown shut its doors back in 2003 this ended up becoming my most frequented theatre for the toronto film festival just to sheer volume of the great programming and the historic and prestine nature of the theatre itself. It is just absolutely gorgeous. Rivals the El Captitan in my opinion in terms of viewing experience and wish there were more opportunities to watch films here *fingers crossed.

SilentToronto on May 29, 2009 at 1:09 am

Check out a fang-tastic ad from 1978 for a Hammer Dracula triple-bill at the Elgin!

robboehm on May 17, 2009 at 7:56 pm

The Winter Garden is one substantial theatre. It boggles the mind to think that it’s atop another. According to my guide, there is actually a glorified crawl space between the two theatres. The only indication that there is a massive structure above it in the Elgin auditorium are a couple of substantial columns toward the rear of the orchestra. The current main lobby is actually more ornate than it was originally. According to the guide the way it is now is the way it was designed, but not executed.

robboehm on March 6, 2009 at 9:15 am

On second thought I think Cats played the Elgin, Phantom was at the Pantages.

telliott on March 6, 2009 at 12:05 am

When Loews was sold to 20th Century Theatres in 1969, it was re-named the Yonge…then several years later when Famous Players renovated it, it was then re-named Elgin. The only reason i think those names were chosen is because the tall vertical sign had room for 5 letters, hence Yonge and Elgin. Since there was an Elgin in Ottawa, they probably thought this was a good name for the theatre in Toronto. Probably had nothing to do with what letters were left over from Loews.

robboehm on March 5, 2009 at 9:07 pm

The lower theatre was originally Loew’s Younge Street; the upper theatre then and now the Winter Garden. Since the Winter Garden was never a movie theatre, when the building achieved a landmark status it could not be equipped for traditional movie showing. When I was last up there they were having some sort of presentation which involved a glorified power point presentation.

Rumor also has it that when the lower, movie theatre, was no longer under the Loew’s umbrella, they used illuminated letters which were still available to rename the theatre – hence, Elgin. It supposedly is not named for a person, e.g. Lord Elgin. But that makes absolutely no sense since there is no “I” in Loew’s Yonge Street.

CSWalczak on June 4, 2008 at 1:24 pm

Oops; sorry. This is the correct link to the 1929 photo:

View link

CSWalczak on June 4, 2008 at 1:16 pm

The marquee of Loew’s Yonge Street can be seen on he right in this 1929 photo:

View link

universalmusicals on March 7, 2006 at 9:11 am

I took the walking tour last summer. It is truly an astonishing place. According to the guides there are only three of these double-deckers left in North America. The Elgin-Winter Garden is the only fully operational one. The others are the New Amsterdam in NYC which has not restored the roof garden theatre (famous from the Ziegfeld days) and one in New Jersey, which is sadly rumored to be slated for demolition. When inToronto, definitely make time to tour this theatre.

Patsy on February 14, 2006 at 5:59 pm

This is a twinned theatre with a totally different concept..double decker rather than splitting the auditorium down the middle or using the balcony for a second cinema.

PGlenat on September 22, 2005 at 2:23 pm

The left hand set of doors visible in the photo link provided by lostmemory originally led to the Winter Garden theatre. The right hand set of doors went into the Elgin (former Loews Yonge) theatre. The box office kiosk always remained just about in the same position as now. For years the left hand doors and part of the lobby directly behind them were blocked and used to house a small jewellery store under the marquee. If you looked carefully as you walked the length of the Elgin lobby corridor, cleverly concealed into the wall decor was an access door through which you could enter the Winter Garden corridor and see the elevator bank and stairs leading up to that
theatre. Because of the jewellery store housed under the marquee many people never knew that the second theatre ever existed.

PGlenat on November 20, 2004 at 10:36 am

The Elgin and Winter Garden are still two separate stacked theaters. Contrary to the opening comments above, they shared a common entrance under the marquee. Behind the entrance, two
lobby/corridors divided by a wall down the center led you to either the Elgin at ground level, while the 2nd corridor led to a bank of elevators (there were three shafts, but only two were originally installed and working) up to the Winter Garden seven storeys above the Elgin. Apparently this arrangement has been augmented or replaced by new stairwells and elevators on the opposite side of the theaters (see Ontario Heritage site photos where that structure is visible). Although closed in 1928, the Winter Garden was used during WWII as a canteen for servicemen. Later it was used from time to time as a location for filming. (e.g. Jack Palance in a CBC made for tv movie of Jekyll & Hyde). Some years prior to Ontario Heritage Foundation acquiring the property, several proposals had been made for use of the Winter Garden, but nothing came of it. Until the restoration of the theaters, the Elgin was known as Loew’s Yonge.

dave-bronx™ on September 19, 2004 at 4:07 am

The original name of this theatre was Loew’s Yonge Street, and should have a listing under the Loews chain.

richardg on February 12, 2004 at 8:50 pm

Yes, Conan is being taped there this week. Supposedly there were 100,000 ticket requests for the week long taping. This is a beautiful theatre and I’m sure the camera will show some of it’s beauty. You still have tonight and tomorrow to catch the splendor

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on January 5, 2004 at 11:10 am

Hey — just heard on the Conan O'Brian show that the Conan will be hosting his show from the Elgin sometime in February!