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Cumberland Cinema set to enter the deadpool

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 4, 2012

Cumberland Four Cinema YorkvilleThe Cumberland Four Cinema will screen its last movie, serve its final batch of popcorn and lock its doors for good at the end of business Sunday night, according to a spokesman for Cineplex, the current owners of the theatre.

"[The landlord] gave us the notice they were expected to, and we provided notice to our employees as well," says Pat Marshall from the company's head office. "Most of our employees are going to work at other theatres — they were all provided with that option."

The Cumberland Four had been renting the space on a month-to-month basis until the landlord told the company it had to go. No word exactly on what will become of the building though we've heard an unconfirmed rumour that some kind of club might be on the way (we'll provide an update if/when we know more on this).

Last year rumours circulated that the building might be demolished to make way for condos but a last ditch deal between Alliance and Cineplex saved the theatre from closure. Just over a year later, however, the deadpool has come calling once again, and Cineplex has answered.

And that's bad news for Toronto film lovers. What do you think? Should Cineplex have fought harder to save the cinema from closure?

UPDATE: 17:47

A reliable source close to the deal says "a high-end cafe" will rent the space once Cineplex moves out. Definitely no condos or boutique shops; one tenant will occupy the entire building. Who could be moving to Yorkville?



Denyse / May 4, 2012 at 04:46 pm
You know there is a lot of vacant space at the New Shops at Don Mills, the book store there closed and it would be big enough for a theatre and there is free parking. Why not just move The Cumberland there?
Bob But Not Doug / May 4, 2012 at 04:47 pm
This is good news because Toronto needs more condos.
Bob But Not Doug / May 4, 2012 at 04:49 pm
Or clubs. As the case may be. I'll show myself out.
Aeudet / May 4, 2012 at 04:50 pm
It's kind of sad because I have a lot of fond memories watching TIFF screenings and limited releases there but with Lightbox and the now revamped Bloor Cinema, Cumberland was starting to feel redundant.
jen / May 4, 2012 at 05:01 pm
Aw, nuts. I guess I just saw my last Hot Doc there....
Danielle / May 4, 2012 at 05:03 pm
I spent a lot of weeks of my life working at the Cumberland Cinema for a variety of festivals and I'm definitely going to miss it, as outdated and weird as that building is, I've got lots of great memories.
Ben / May 4, 2012 at 05:04 pm
This is particularly sad news for me. I've been to see a movie there pretty much without fail every day for the last five years.
Ben / May 4, 2012 at 05:04 pm
Oops, I meant "every year for the past five years."
Noreen Farooqui / May 4, 2012 at 05:05 pm
This is so upsetting. I worked at Cumberland Cinemas during my first year with the Toronto International Film Festival. It's a historical landmark that will be missed.
Laka Dukus / May 4, 2012 at 05:18 pm
I am working at the Hot Docs Festival, what we have been hearing is that botique(SP?) shops will fill the building. No condos. Essentially an expensive bunch of shops.
Brian / May 4, 2012 at 05:22 pm
No! I love the Cumberland!!
wheatln2 / May 4, 2012 at 05:25 pm
Cineplex really dropped the ball on this one. They could have pitched it a budget option, but instead prices seemed fixed at $12 for a general adult ticket. They didn't even have the advantage of offering Scene points until very recently. Add in the fact that most of the films they showed were available in the more comfortable environment of TIFF or Varsity, and it feels like the writing has been on the wall for some time... Sad really as the building had a lot of charm and atmosphere, despite its rundown crumbly condition...
not an old dude / May 4, 2012 at 05:27 pm
total bummer, this place was one of the best to take in non-mainstream films in the city. never packed (which is great for me, not for business) but it will be missed! saw many good films there and with the bloor focusing so much on docs and the tiff lightbox programming being pretty hit or miss (how have they not had Tarr's Turin Horse by now?!)

RIP Cumberland
sad / May 4, 2012 at 05:53 pm
damn, this place really showed quality films.... where am i going to find them now in theatres
Gus / May 4, 2012 at 06:28 pm
Frankly it's about time. Patrons of this theater, with the exception of you fine commenters, were some of the most atrocious human beings on the planet. I actually stopped going to this theater for that very reason. Don't know if it was the location, or the movies they used to show, but never experienced behavior like that anywhere else.

Mind you, I DID once meet Ken Burns there. He was nice.
jeff / May 4, 2012 at 06:49 pm
This is a bad theatre. Bad picture and sound, decent movies though. O well.....
Todd Toronto / May 4, 2012 at 06:52 pm
Let's see, in the past 25 (or so) years or so, Yorkville has lost the Cumberland, Plaza, Uptown, University, Towne, Backstage, and the Showcase.

No wonder TIFF's centre of gravity has shifted south.
Anne Riverdale / May 4, 2012 at 07:05 pm
Where will I see all those great films? Hang in there Carlton Cinemas!
Coblot / May 4, 2012 at 09:03 pm
Damn. I saw My Bodyguard, Fame and Ghostbusters there.
Christian / May 4, 2012 at 09:23 pm
Not a great loss. The TIFF light box has filled the gap of many of the parting theatres. I lament the loss of the Uptown most of all as that was by far the best place to see summer blockbusters.
A "high end cafe" in that space seems an odd choice. A high end night club with that large lobby area and the theatres turned into contained dance floors seems like the logical choice for douchy Yorkville.
Thanks for the Memories / May 4, 2012 at 09:31 pm
Other then on an Opening Weekend the Cumberland always had a hushed tone to it which was kinda nice...

the Varsity...hang tough..

GL replying to a comment from wheatln2 / May 4, 2012 at 09:42 pm
They're closing because the owner wants to lease it out to someone else, not because they aren't making money
margarets / May 4, 2012 at 11:40 pm
The Cumberland is where I had a woman grab me from behind just as I was sitting down. The fuck?

She wanted to me to sit somewhere so I wouldn't obscure her view of the movie (which was Michael Moore's Sicko). I chewed her out for it and she seemed genuinely surprised.

Gus is right. That cinema attracted some nutjobs.
King / May 5, 2012 at 12:18 am
Meh - this is an old decrepit building, with no excitement inside, a cramped lobby, miniscule concession stand, inaccessible staircases, terribly uncomfortable seating, and outdated sound technology. Its glory days have long past (the 70s/80s?) and it seems to be the catchment for wackos. It was a marginal step up from the mini-bowling lane theatres of the Carleton Cinema but when compared to the state of the art Lightbox, AMC, or Scotiabank, it can't compete. Even the Varsity is more comfortable.
Quark replying to a comment from Coblot / May 5, 2012 at 12:19 am
I saw a lot of movies there too (most recently Good Night And Good Luck a while back) but even I knew the writing was on the wall for this place-in fact, it had been for a while! Wasn't it supposed to close a few years back? Looks like the final extension has finished, and now it will really be going, going, gone.
King / May 5, 2012 at 12:19 am
In short, it was a shit hole. I'm glad its closing.
SpinalTap / May 5, 2012 at 01:05 am
Oh, horrraaaaay!! More shitty, supersmall, superexpensive, just-because-it's-right-downtown, condoooo!!
Quark replying to a comment from sad / May 5, 2012 at 08:08 am
You can always go to the TIFF Bell Lightbox and see a ton of foreign films there, as well as the Bloor Hot Docs Theater.

@Denyse: A foreign film-orientated multiplex in suburbia? Can you say 'Not bloody likely?'
Quark replying to a comment from King / May 5, 2012 at 08:44 am
Got reading problems, sir/madame? It's NOT going to become a condo.
dnr / May 5, 2012 at 08:57 am
I have a lot of great memories of the cumberland as well but the times-they-are -a-changin'.
I also have great memories of the Uptown and University Theatres as well. Here's the thing - Those movie theatres still around from the past have terrible equipment and outdated sound. It's better on my laptop. Not to say new theatres are any better. I hate those theatres with a passion. They're like amusement parks full of screaming kids, arcade games and fast food, Yuck. Also people do not know how to behave in a movie theatre - they eat, text and talk. Very distracting. Ken Russell was right - stay at home with your HD TV and surround sound - watching movies with 200 strangers no longer works.
Aeron / May 5, 2012 at 11:43 am
Unfortunate news but I’m not surprised. I expect the long term plans for the site will see a condo tower here.

I always enjoyed seeing movies here, it was quirky with a good cinema vibe. A proper place for seeing movies. However, it was rarely busy and the design was tired. It will be missed.
Moi replying to a comment from Coblot / May 5, 2012 at 12:01 pm
WOW nice!

What a shocker. Never even heard about this.
Closed in a few days. Sad
CZ replying to a comment from Bob But Not Doug / May 5, 2012 at 04:21 pm
goodbye childhood memories
hello condos - i mean, toronto.
Jimmy / May 5, 2012 at 08:58 pm
Good riddance. Cumberland was an elitist joint.
craig / May 6, 2012 at 08:03 am
I loved the cumberland, especially cinema 2. Who doesn't remember sitting and watching a quiet film, possibly subtitled and... Subway! Always made me grin. But, with the AMC and their heavy support of indie film and the lightbox which is sort of like the cumberland on steroids, even I had stopped going, and I see three mostly indie films a week in the theatres all year long. Thank you Cumberland and staff for helping grow my indie IQ.
startoronto / May 7, 2012 at 04:11 am
I remember long ago, I used to call in sick, have lunch at Sushi Inn (Silver Box) and then go to the Cumberland for a matinee. It was wonderful. So satisfying. I missed the chance to do this one more time! Sad.
Andrew / May 7, 2012 at 10:04 am
This is actually quite tragic. This was a great first-run cinema for a lot of interesting foreign films. Had a certain low-key quality that always made for a pleasant outing. It was also nice to exit the theatre into the hustle and bustle of Yorkville, a neighbourhood that I otherwise avoid, and grab a pint at Hemmingway's before taking the subway home. Perhaps it was inevitable but I will miss it all the same.
TDotRome / May 7, 2012 at 01:06 pm
Great movies. Poor venue. Horrendous building. Here's hoping the Varsity picks up the slack.
YorkieSam / May 7, 2012 at 05:27 pm
Wow. 30 years old. Put it down. For the commentators who have been reacting to this news in the negative, I hope someone puts you down when you are deemed "too old". Or less attractive, or uncomfortably nutty, as you will one day be if you are not already. Idiots who haven't thought this out already... No one ever said you had to watch movies in Yorkville. However it was an option you no longer have. You will also no longer be able to watch movies at the Cinesphere, or star gaze at the Planetarium, or paparazzi in the parking lot of the Four Seasons. It's just old. Make way for something better right? I haven't seen anything that matches the stuff being outmoded just yet. Hot Docs was just the Bloor Cinema, the sight and sound might be better, but the seating is just as it was. And without the underground programming. The Lightbox is okay if you don't mind wading through drunks on your way home after a late show. And nothing even compares to the Planetarium or the Cinesphere. Did you even go? The Cumberland was one of the last places you could watch film in this city. Actual film. Not a digital-I-might-as-well-watch-it-on-my-tv-at-home-but-its-on-a-bigger-screen crap.
Which means scratching, and sound problems. Sometimes. Boo Hoo. I liked to have that option available to me, and now goofballs with the logic and brains you yourselves exhibit have taken that away from us all. And not because it was an orgasmic experience, but because it kept a piece of history alive against all push against it. As far as the "nutjobs" who were the audience of choice there, you can look forward to seeing them at Varsity or the Lightbox now. I suspect audiences for highbrow film will stay at home now. They can and will afford to invest in the high-end stereo equipment and not have to watch movies with the likes of you.
Torro / May 8, 2012 at 10:31 am
As a teenager I went on a date with a girl there and saw The Witches of Eastwick. I remember the movie tickets had seat assignments!
Naturally as would be the case with any teenage guy taking a girl to see The Witches of Eastwick I turned out to be gay, so as you can see this venue holds a very special place in my heart.

Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Coblot / June 27, 2012 at 04:24 pm
I saw Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Good Night & Good Luck, Cobb, Willow, and New York Stories there back when it was owned by the original Famous Players in the 80's. Although I shouldn't be admitting it, I will miss the place somewhat.

@YorkieSam: NOBODY likes having their movies interrupted by crazy people causing shit; if you do, cool beans for you. But, others don't, and that may have helped seal the fate of the place.

As well, I hate to break it to you, but watching movie with scratched and the occasional sound problem ISN'T amazing, but takes people out of the film being watched (one reason I won't be going to the Toronto Underground that much anymore after last month's 'screening' of The Fifth Element unless they consider some digital screenings like the one they had of the upcoming Johnny Cash documentary at NXNE's film festival.) Also, digital projection IS getting better, and Peter Jackson wants to be at the vanguard when The Hobbit hit theaters: › ... › Operations › Digital Cinema Forum

So, although I'll miss the Cumberland now, I won't miss your nasty attitude and snobbishness about the place.
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