Earlier this year Zenning with Zay & I decided to check out an Abandoned Historic Ontario Theatre! Abandoned theatres are few & far between but they always are such a treat to explore!
The theatre is an iconic piece of history for the city in which it resides. Originally it served as a vaudeville which was a live entertainment show featuring acts such as magicians, acrobats, comedians, trained animals, jugglers, singers, & dancers. These were very popular in the late 1800's to the 1930's among the growing number of white collar workers.
Theatre was built in 1922 & officially opened in 1923. The three story building was designed by Toronto architects Herbert George Duerr & B. Kingston Hall. The 714 seat theatre was huge for the era outside of major cities. That said, the city in which this resides could keep the seats in tis, as well as another theatre filled. The magistrate who owned this theatre later started a chain of theatres across Ontario.
The theatre later changed ownership & shortly thereafter, the new owner was killed in a plane crash forcing yet another sale of the theatre. Then in 1948, the spring thaw caused the nearby river banks to burst, flooding the downtown with up to 6 feet of water! The worst flooding the city had experienced. Fortunately the theatre survived despite ice chunks tearing up concrete, smashing windows & flattening parking meters. In 1949 a new company took ownership & renamed the theatre. It remained the same up until 1981 when the city bought it.
With the city as the new owner, the Abandoned Historic Ontario Theatre was restored back to a live theatre venue & opened again in 1983. Six years later the province helped in restoring it to the original glory & gave it yet another new name which it kept up untl the end. In 2006 some improvements were made & in 2009 deemed that it should not be demolished & kept for its hitorical significance. Unfortunately buyrs seeking to take over the property in 2017 could not meet the standards of a heritage property. The theatre has been vacant since 2006 & today is close to meeting the wrecking ball.
I think it's safe to say this will be the final curtain for the amazing old building.