Eglinton Theatre

400 Eglinton Avenue W.,
Toronto, ON M5N 1A2

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rl_83 on December 15, 2015 at 1:24 pm

How big was the screen at the Eglinton?

rl_83 on December 13, 2015 at 11:36 pm

I believe the Bauers from this location where the ones that were shipped out to Vancouver in which were used as parts machines for the ones installed at the Paramount in New Westminster in BC. They never did run 70 again.

Coate on March 10, 2015 at 10:09 am

“The Sound of Music” premiered here fifty years ago today. With a reserved-seat run of 146 weeks, I imagine it’s the long-run record holder for this venue.

laserboyTO on November 29, 2014 at 1:48 pm

@PeterD – The 35/70MM Bauer projectors were removed in early December 1981 in favor of the 35/70MM Simplex machines. The Bauers used carbon arcs, that’s all I know about them (I helped carry dozens of boxes down for pickup after the projectors were removed!). “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (70MM) was the last film to use the Bauers, and a gorgeous, bright, steady picture on that screen it was. Closed for four days the Simplex’s were installed for the 35MM engagement of Warren Beatty’s “Reds” (mono too). The first workout for 70MM came the next summer with “Poltergeist”, and there was not enough light on the screen as the xenon bulbs were an insufficient 2500watts. The best picture they could get was by focusing the bulb for max. brightness and allowing for a bit of flicker in the corners of the picture, which could really only be noticed in bright scenes. It drove us all crazy but I don’t recall anyone complaining. A 70MM film festival of old classics did yield complaints about the lack of light on the screen, plus some of the films were badly faded (Dr. Zhivago etc.) The lamphouses and xexon bulbs were finally upgraded to 5000watt bulbs in 1984 when THX was installed at the Eglinton.

Coate on November 12, 2014 at 10:23 am

Here’s an article from a few days ago published in the Toronto Star that some may find of interest. The Eglinton and other Toronto cinemas are mentioned (and some might recognize a Cinema Treasures contributor quoted in the piece).

Find Toronto’s favourite movies

We Torontonians like to think of ourselves as visionary sophisticates, the kind of people who would prefer to boldly reach for the stars, rather than doggedly climb every mountain.

Our choice of favourite movies suggests otherwise. I thought I was on safe ground last week when I declared 2001: A Space Odyssey to be T.O.’s all-time most popular cinematic experience, going by what two sources (and personal memory) indicated was a four-year run at the old Glendale theatre on Avenue Rd. I believed that to be the longest a movie has ever played in one theatre in the city for a continuous run.

Tim Elliott, a Toronto movie buff and collector, contacted me with a contrary assertion: The Sound of Music edged 2001for popularity honours. The Sound of Music, a musical in which Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer climb every mountain that love, geography and the Nazis hurl at them, played for 144 weeks at the Eglinton Theatre, which still stands but no longer operates as a movie house. The film made toes tap and tugged at heartstrings at the Eglinton from March 10, 1965 to Dec. 21, 1967.

A few months after The Sound of Music closed, 2001: A Space Odyssey opened at the Glendale theatre on Avenue Rd. The outer space adventure billed as “the ultimate trip” seared eyeballs and dazzled brains there for a total of 127 weeks, roughly 2.5 years, from May 30, 1968 to Nov. 3, 1970 — and it screened in the widescreen marvel known as Cinerama, no less. The Glendale no longer exists, sadly, having been demolished in the 1970s and replaced by a car dealership.

“These were both the longest single engagements in the city, as far as I know,” Elliott, 62, told me via email.

He bases this on his study of movie ads in the Toronto Star and other newspapers, “a hobby of mine since seeing my first grown-up film Breakfast at Tiffany’s in 1961 as a kid and falling in love with Audrey Hepburn and the movies and movie theatres.

“In my basement I have file drawers filled with the movie ads from all of the Toronto newspapers from the ’60s on. I also used to keep lists of most of the theatres of Toronto and write down each movie that played in each one and how long they played. Unfortunately, I misplaced those lists during a move and haven’t seen them in years.”

But he managed to keep a lot of stats on movie engagements, including these other long runs in Toronto:

Ben-Hur (77 weeks): Dec. 23, 1959 to May 4, 1961 at the University.

Funny Girl (68 weeks): Oct. 3, 1968 to Jan. 22, 1970 at the Odeon Fairlawn.

Doctor Zhivago (61 weeks): Oct. 16, 1966 to Dec. 21, 1967 at the Nortown (it followed a 28-week run at the University, for a total of 89 weeks).

My Fair Lady (60 weeks): Oct. 28, 1964 to Dec. 21, 1965 at the University (it moved to the Nortown on Dec. 25 for a seven-week run that continued to Feb. 9, 1966).

Fiddler on the Roof (57 weeks): Nov. 10, 1971 until Dec. 12, 1972 at the University.

MAS*H (53 weeks): March 27, 1970 to April 8, 1971 at the Hollywood.

There have also been long engagements of close to a year or more for the original Star Wars, Oliver!, Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines, The Gods Must Be Crazy and La Cage Aux Folles, among others. Note that these achievements were all notched mainly during the 1960s and ’70s, before the widespread adoption of colour TV, multiplex theatres and home video. Then came the Internet and VOD (video on demand), which changed things further still. Most of these records also precede the blockbuster era, where it became commonplace to open a movie at many theatres at once, rather than have it take up residence in a single prestigious theatre for a “road show” run. It’s almost impossible now to think of movies having a lengthy run in a single Toronto theatre, although there are exceptions. Avatar ran in the Scotiabank theatre for nearly six months, from Dec. 18, 2009 to May 27, 2010, and it remained in the Toronto market at least until June of that year, says Cineplex spokesman Mike Langdon. He adds there’s nothing to stop a film from setting a record. “For us, we will leave a film on screen as long as there is demand from the guests to see it. Our guests determine how long a run actually is.” I recall that Titanic also had a very lengthy run in Toronto, perhaps as long as Avatar, both films having been directed by Ontario-born James Cameron. Cineplex doesn’t have ready access to screening stats, and neither does Paramount, the studio that released Titanic. But the intrepid Astrid Lange in the Star’s library found that it played at the Uptown theatre from Dec. 19, 1997 to June 30, 1998. It moved from the Uptown to the Uptown Backstage on July 1 for another few weeks. Sad to think that most of the single-screen theatres where records were set are now demolished or otherwise unavailable: Uptown, University, Odeon Fairlawn, Nortown, Hollywood, Eglinton. All gone. It comes as no surprise that all of these movies are mainstream crowd-pleasers, although 2001: A Space Odyssey also qualifies as an art house head-scratcher. But three of Toronto’s all-time favourites are space movies: 2001, Avatar and Stars Wars. So maybe we’re visionaries after all.

sask on June 27, 2014 at 10:35 am

I enjoyed reading about the theatre, I was looking for information on it. My parents met while working there 50 years ago. We are planning a 50th anniv. celebration and I was looking into some of history. Does anyone know if there is a way to find out more? Thanks.

thoive on April 10, 2014 at 6:52 pm

This theatre is quite near to my heart, I attended the Canadian premiere of the first Harry Potter movie there as a 10-year-old in 2001. It was the first one-screen cinema I had ever been to. What a shame it’s no longer operational.

Torontonian on October 19, 2012 at 10:56 pm

The Eglinton was also, for several years, a Cinerama movie house. The Cinerama technology required adjustments to the house and removal of several rows of seats but it did successfully in showing Cinerama product.

PeterD on July 23, 2009 at 8:10 am

A favourite of mine when I worked as a projectionist and also as a movie-goer. The Eglinton’s magnificent auditorium is somewhat similar to the Zigfeld in New York (where most of NYC’s world premieres occur). Massive screen, and the best THX installation in the city by far.

Before the THX work was done, the booth had the most unique machines in the city – Bauer U2’s. Big old German workhorse 35/70mm projectors that put a picture on the screen and nailed it there. I forget what bulbs they were running (4.5kW @ 150A, IIRC), but the gates needed to be water-cooled, not unlike a drive-in! The few times I worked there it was after the Bauers had gone and, IIRC, were replaced by a pair of 35/70mm Simplex XLs running 6000' reels.

KingBiscuits on April 29, 2008 at 10:17 am

According to, The Sound Of Music ran 146 weeks.

SilentToronto on January 12, 2008 at 8:24 am

Have a look at a tribute to the Eglinton Theatre I recently wrote, including an ad for the opening night!

srcushing on December 28, 2007 at 4:09 pm

Funny about the Hello Dolly movie. In the back behind the screen there were dressing rooms for the staff (not the modern ones but the ones used in the 30’s and 40’s. In a dusty pile in one of these rooms was a stack of ticket stubs from Hello Dolly. I took a few for myself and left the rest for the sake of history. Probably gone now.

telliott on July 20, 2007 at 4:34 pm

The Eglinton showed a lot of Reserved seat Roadshows during the 60s including, Beckett, Doctor Dolittle,Finian’s Rainbow, Hello Dolly! and of course the record breaking 144 week run of “The Sound of Music” from March 10, 1965 to December of 1967.

srcushing on July 20, 2007 at 1:52 pm

I managed this theatre from April 1998 to April 1999. I was rummaging through the filing cabinet one day and found a scrap book from the opening. There was a full page add with a picture of the theatre and around it the names and logos of all the companies that helped build it.

The first movie was the King of Bulesque and in the opening night picture you can see the line up head west around the corner to where the Scotia Bank is now.
There was no concession when it opened, and the area by the office where the fire place is was a smoking area. The room behind the screen had stairs to two wings, a womans and a mens dressing room. Lockers behind the screen had some old uniforms that no one ever took or moved. They were a part of the place. When it opened there was an orchestra pit infront of the screen, you could get to in after it was covered up by crawling through the duct work.

I had the pleasure of being the manager during the movie shoot for Gene Wilder’s Murder in a Small Town. The theatre was filled with people in 30’s cloths watching the last 2 minutes of Angels with Dirty faces (which I got to do the projection for). On the street they had old cars and the fronts of the buildings on both sides of Eglinton were dressed up to look like stores from the 30’s, it was a trip to the past. If you ever watch the movie the first 2 minutes of the film were shot at the Eglinton. It took 12 hours to set up, shoot and tear down for thoes 2 minutes. It was a lot of fun.

The Theatre showed Titanic for it’s full run including the date the Titanic actually sank.

The Eglinton had handicapped access via the back doors, but I guess that was not good enough. It probably could have been grandfathered if Famous Players had of taken up the fight, but take it from someone who was there 3 years before the closing, the Eglliton’s fate was sealed as soon as the Silver City and Yonge and Eglinton went up and the final nail was Famous Players purchase of Canada Square.

Oddly enough when it was built the Eglinton was not a first run theatre it was a nieghbourhood theatre that took in films after theatres like the University and the Uptown were done with them. It became a first run theatre when the twins and multies with their smaller audtioriums were built.

I had the re release of The Wizard of Oz in 1998. I watched it on my own one late night and you could almost feel the ghosts of the past stop by to see it again.

It was called the Jewel of Famous Players at one time.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on June 17, 2007 at 7:26 am

The 3-strip Cinerama films shown at the Eglinton were projected onto a large, but only very slightly curved, Cinemiracle screen. The only thing Cinerama about the Eglinton was the Cinerama logo that appeared in newspaper ads for How the West Was Won and Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm. Other than this minor beef, the theatre was one of Toronto’s best.

hamiltongirl on October 16, 2004 at 12:31 pm

Loved this theatre. Unfortunately the last movie I saw there was Jeepers Creepers. But it was kinda nice that my friend and I had the whole theatre to ourselves. Beautiful theatre.

Roloff on July 17, 2004 at 1:20 am

The Eglinton ran 3-strip Cinerama (Cinemiracle WINDJAMMER, HOLIDAY IN SPAIN and Cinerama) from december 1960 to 1963. View link

edward on April 16, 2004 at 8:36 pm

New website for the Eglinton Grand (formerly the Eglinton Theatre and no longer functioning as a cinema).

edward on October 12, 2003 at 7:52 pm

Designed by Kaplan and Sprachman, opened 1936, a beautifully preserved Art Deco movie palace closed in 2003 and being remodeled. Although the new tenant will restore the marquee and facade, the interior will be retrofitted. The theatre will reopen as a rental hall for special events and renamed the Eglinton Grand.
To read an update, go to:
View link

ChadIrish on November 28, 2002 at 1:48 pm

Hey everyone, If you would like to help out the “Save The Eglinton” Theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, then please go visit this web site – – $5.00 of every sale will go to the “Save The Eglinton” Thanks for your help.

ChadIrish on March 21, 2002 at 5:29 pm

Hello everyone !!! There is a new store that has opened on the internet just for you all that want to help out in saving the Eglinton Theatre In Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Please visit this site –> <–[ Click Here ]– $5.00 of every sale will go to help save the Eglinton Theatre. Thanks to everyone for there support.

ChadIrish on March 2, 2002 at 11:53 pm

The Eglinton Theatre Now Has A Web Site Just Click Here To Enter —–> You can find info all everything on how to save the Eglinton Theatre in Toronto.