University Theatre

100 Bloor Street W,
Toronto, ON M5S 1M4

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Famous Players

Architects: Eric W. Hounsom

Functions: Retail

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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News About This Theater

University Theatre

Opened on March 25, 1949, the University Theatre was one of the first movie theaters in North America to not only feature 70mm projection, but also a THX Dolby Surround Sound system. It was a good-sized theatre with a balcony so large that there was a snack bar on it as well as on the main floor.

It was a very popular theatre for its entire run and screened several significant premieres, including "Apocalypse Now" and a special double bill of "Star Wars" and "The Empire Strikes Back" with a rare preview for the trailer of "Return of the Jedi" before it came out and was known as "Revenge of the Jedi."

Despite a petition of over 25,000 people, it was closed in 1986 when the property value became too great to continue operating as a theatre. The University Theatre was demolished later in 1986 and, today, only its rebuilt facade remains, fronting a newly constructed retail structure.

Contributed by J.D. Lafrance

Recent comments (view all 60 comments)

MSC77 on August 26, 2023 at 2:14 pm

This venue’s 70mm presentations history is included in the recently-published article “70mm Presentations in Toronto: A Chronology of 70mm Large Format Exhibition, 1956-Present”.

50sSNIPES on August 26, 2023 at 5:58 pm

Is this the first THX theater in Canada? I know the first THX theaters were in Los Angeles, Dallas, and Orlando, but I’m pretty sure that this could be the first in Canada.

rivest266 on August 27, 2023 at 7:50 am

No, the First THX system in Canada was the Cineplex Odeon Oakridge Center 3 opening on May 11th, 1985. Famous Players installed its THX system at the Imperial in Montreal and University here in Toronto in time for “Top Gun” in May 1986

MSC77 on August 27, 2023 at 8:29 am

50sSNIPES and rivest266: Toronto’s first THX cinema was the Eglinton, certified during summer ‘85 for “Cocoon.”

50sSNIPES on August 27, 2023 at 4:49 pm

Cocoon didn’t came out until a month, a week, and three days after the Oakridge Center 3 launched their THX system. So I’m pretty sure that rivest266 is right.

MSC77 on August 29, 2023 at 12:36 pm

Nice try, 50sSNIPES. I am not disputing Rivest’s claim that Oakridge Centre in Vancouver was Canada’s first THX theater. My point was both you and Rivest seemed to be under the mistaken impression that the University was Toronto’s first THX theater. You wrote you were “pretty sure that this [University] could be the first [THX] in Canada.” Not only was it not the first THX theater in Canada, it was not the first in Toronto, either.

And your math is wrong about the number of days between the Oakridge and Eglinton THX certifications. The run of “Cocoon” at the Eglinton upon becoming THX certified commenced July 5th (not June 21st when the film opened throughout much of North America) and you could have easily determined this had you bothered to check the Toronto 70mm Presentations article I linked to a few comments ago or by checking my “Cocoon: The North American 70mm Presentations” article.

MSC77 on December 26, 2023 at 8:43 am

Fifty years ago today THE EXORCIST opened here. The University was among only two-dozen cinemas in twenty-one North American markets to play the film at release launch.

laserboyTO on December 26, 2023 at 7:21 pm

The University had fantastic sound, but it never had THX. The main problem was subway rumble, which would have prevented certification. A cinema has to be completely dead; quiet. Often new HVAC has to be installed because it makes a bit too much noise, and installing new cinema doors that lead to the street if any noise is getting through was common.

chuckkahn on December 27, 2023 at 7:02 am

(Checks the the Toronto 70mm Presentations article) That 1985 gap between Ladyhawke in April and Year of the Dragon in August with no 70mm playing at the University seemed like such a waste, especially given that it would close forever after 1986.

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