Tivoli Theatre

13 Richmond Street East,
Toronto, ON M5C

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vindanpar on December 24, 2015 at 10:17 pm

This looks like one of the great roadshow houses with a truly wide screen that enveloped the audience head on.

I wish more of the photos under the individual theaters had such great photos of the interior and the size of the screen in relation to the audience.

Funny that this even opened as a roadshow house when so many theaters had to be converted to being one. At least in New York.

Yeah SOM would have looked great here.

I have a friend who has seen this Scaramouche at MOMA and while not especially a silent movie buff(he’s a big Sabatini buff) he claims it is much better than the ‘52 remake.

AndrewBarrett on June 15, 2014 at 1:11 pm

Hi folks,

Is this the “Allen Theatre” in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, in which a Hillgreen-Lane theatre pipe organ, opus 479, was installed in 1917?

I am trying to track down this instrument and its history, or at least find a few photos of it and/or a stoplist. Opus 479 was/is a two-manual, 21-rank instrument which was shipped from the Hillgreen-Lane factory in 1917 at a cost of $3,225. It featured a 3-horsepower blower, serial #8256.

Could this organ, or parts of it, be playing in a church, residence, or meeting hall somewhere today? Or has the entire organ long since been destroyed? Does anyone know?

The above information comes courtesy of Mr. David Junchen’s “Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Pipe Organ”, pages 166 and 167.

I believe this organ is probably the sister organ to opus 478, a 2-manual, 20-rank instrument, some of which (apparently) went down with the destruction of its original home, the Liberty Theatre in Youngstown, Ohio, in 2013.

I was apparently too late to save opus 478 but it may not be too late for me to save opus 479, if it still exists.

Thanks a lot!

Cimarron on April 24, 2014 at 7:32 pm

Upload Pic showing “El Cid” in photo section.

rivest266 on March 5, 2014 at 4:03 pm

November 3rd, 1923 grand opening ad as Tivoli in photo section.

CSWalczak on May 23, 2012 at 12:04 am

Here’s a picture from 1956 with the Tivoli marquee advertising “Rebel Without a Cause” at Shea’s (Hippodrome) Theatre. Perhaps the theater was closed when the photo was taken for conversion to Todd A-O? A portion of the Victoria Theatre can be seen at the left, probably closed as it soon would be be demolished.

Here are some links to some other pictures, a few posted before but with updated links:

As the Allen in 1919: View link

Interior, date unknown, but probably after renovation for Todd-AO: View link

telliott on November 26, 2011 at 4:23 pm

LOVE that photo of the Tivoli Jon! I’ve often wondered if FP had booked “The Sound of Music” in to the Tivoli instead of the Eglinton, would it have survived a few more years. After all, the Tivoli was once the “home of Todd-ao” and TSOM was in glorious Todd-ao. I thought at the time it was a shame to have closed it since it had such a wonderful run as a major roadshow house. Why couldn’t they run it as they did with the Imperial-Yorkdale-Golden Mile-Runnymede and maybe had the Tivoli with the Capitol-Birchcliff-Westwood…

CSWalczak on August 8, 2010 at 6:59 am

This appears to be the same picture as the one posted on May 22, 2009.

theghostofgraingertown on May 22, 2009 at 2:43 pm

I am guessing this picture is from right after they closed as there are no features shown on the sign and the cars look to be from the early 1960s.


SilentToronto on January 3, 2009 at 9:57 am

December 28 was the 80th anniversary of the first full talking picture to play in Toronto. The Tivoli was packed that night, and today’s Saturday Star has a quick writeup commemorating the event!

For those interested, 32 Elvis Movies is a site dedicated to the history of Canadian movie theatres. Have a look!

And yes, I’m aware the Tivoli actually closed in 1964, not 1965 as written (blame the copy editors, not me:P). The cinema played its final film in November of 1964, and the building was sold in May of the following year, to be demolished soon after.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on September 22, 2008 at 6:14 pm

The Tivoli was a great place to see a 70mm film. Oddly enough, because of the stadium seating, there was no place to put a booth for head-on projection. Unless you were sitting toward the back, near the booth, horizontal lines were noticeably distorted. In the business this was quite often referred to as a smile. The 70mm (pseudo Cinerama) presentations at Toronto’s Glendale Cinerama theatre had exactly the same problem. You may be interested to know that both theatres had a huge screen with a 120 degree curvature and projected 70mm film with 6-track stereo sound. The Tivoli’s Todd-AO and the Glendale’s Cinerama presentations looked exactly the same to the audience. The only thing that set them apart was the huge Cinerama logo on the Glendale’s marquee.

telliott on June 5, 2008 at 3:30 pm

Yes, I love that book too. Did you notice it mentions that the Tivoli was designed “stadium” style and not with the usual balcony overhanging the orchestra. Talk about early stadium seating! I know there is a Todd-ao section of “In 70MM” web site, but not sure if there are any pictures of the Tivoli.

CSWalczak on June 5, 2008 at 3:13 pm

After looking at the two pictures of the Tivoli’s beautiful auditorium in John Lindsay’s terrific book “Palaces of the Night: Canada’s Grand Theaters”, it is easy to see why it would be a great Todd-AO house; that very wide outer proscenium frame would accommodate a large, curved screen easily with both minimal side draping and probably no need to tear out or cover the side boxes. Was the original projection box used or was another one built to meet the need for as-near head-on projection as possible? It would be neat to see a picture of this theatre set up for Todd-AO.

telliott on June 5, 2008 at 9:30 am

The Tivoli was for many years the “Home of Todd-ao” as it was advertised. Beginning with “Oklahoma” and continuing with “Around the World in 80 Days” and “South Pacific” most of these films ran at the Tivoli a year or more as reserved seat, roadshow engagements. Others that ran in Todd-ao as roadshows were “Porgy and Bess”, “Can-Can”, “The Alamo”, “Exodus” and “West Side Story”.