College Theatre

960 College Street,
Toronto, ON M6H

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Allen's Theaters Ltd., Famous Players

Architects: Charles Howard Crane

Firms: Kiehler & Schley

Styles: Adam

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College Theatre, Toronto, Canada in 1920

The College Theatre was opened by the Allen’s Theaters Ltd. chain on May 24, 1920. All seating was on a single floor. It held an imposing position on the corner of College Street and Dovercourt Road.

It was later a part of the Famous Players circuit and was closed in 1967.

Contributed by Christopher Walczak

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

telliott on June 14, 2008 at 9:38 pm

I remember during the 60s the College was one of several “neighbourhood” theatres that together showed double-bills of recent movies that had finished their runs downtown, or sometimes had them “direct from downtown” for films that had been big hits. Other theatres on the list included the Alhambra, Beach, Palace, Parkdale, Runnymede, Vaughan, St Clair.

CSWalczak on April 11, 2009 at 3:04 pm

The 1982 picture is most likely of different College Theater.

telliott on April 11, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Correct CW. By 1982 the College theatre at College & Dovercourt was long gone, replaced with stores and apartments above them. The second College photo is of one on College in the Chinatown area, near Spadina Ave.

gordonmcleod on May 11, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Kay Stokes first job when she moved to toronto was as organist here regretably we dont know the make of the organ probably a Warren/woodstock or a legge

DavidDymond on May 11, 2013 at 4:53 pm

Mort Margolius was the Manager at this theatre during the war. During the war Queen Julianna of the Netherlands watched movies here. This theatre closed in the late 60’s. Closed circuit hockey broadcasts on a big screen EDIDOPHOR were tried out at this theatre!!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 7, 2018 at 5:02 pm

Here is a peculiar item from the “Canadian Notes” column of the April 21, 1917 issue of The Moving Picture Weekly:

“The Garrick Theatre, College and Bovercourt [sic] Road, is Toronto’s newest house, or rather one should say one of Toronto’s oldest houses made new. As a matter of fact the Garrick has been nameless ever since its construction, it being built but never operated. However, one of the local theatre syndicates has secured it and is remodelling and equipping the house to open very shortly. There is no doubt that it will present a most attractive appearance”
The May 4, 1918, issue of The Moving Picture World also mentions the Garrick in Toronto:
“The Garrick, Toronto, has been secured by A. L. Hall of Montreal.”
The same journal mentions the Garrick again in its issue of June 8, 1918:
“The Garrick theater, College and Dovercourt road, Toronto, has again changed hands. The new owner is W. C. Wright, a veteran theater man. Mr. Wright has not been engaged in any theatrical enterprise for the past twelve years.”
I’ve found no later mentions of the Garrick, but the College Theatre is mentioned in this item from The Moving Picture World of September 6, 1919:
“The Aliens are getting ready to open new theatres in half a dozen different Canadian cities. Four new houses are nearly completed in Toronto alone, these being the St. Clair Theatre in the North End, Parkdale Theatre in the West, Beach Theatre in the East and College Theatre, near Dovercourt and College streets.”
Given the location of the Garrick and the College, and the fact that there seems to have been no overlap in their operation, the question that naturally arises is was the College a rebuild of the Garrick? While the interior of the College does look like something C. Howard Crane would have designed, the exterior bears a resemblance, and that only passing, only to his United Artists Theatre in Chicago. Perhaps he had to work with an existing building and lavished the Allens' limited money on the interior?

I’ve been unable to find any construction journal items about either the Garrick or the College, so there is no clue to their comparative sizes, nor have I found any photos of the Garrick. Still, it’s an interesting possibility that they were the same house.

DavidZornig on November 6, 2019 at 7:30 pm

April 1967 photo added courtesy of the Toronto Public Library.

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