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Metro Theatre could become a fitness club

Posted by Chris Bateman / May 24, 2014

Metro theatre torontoThe 75-year-old Metro Theatre in Koreatown may have shown its last porno. The building's new owners are planning to turn the faded building into a fitness studio, according documents filed with the city this week.

The theatre, famous for its repertoire of bawdy titles, closed in December when owner Kar Green sold the property. CBC News reported in 2012 that Green was seeking in the region of $3.8 million. It's not clear how much the building eventually fetched.

The plan floated by the new owners would see the old theatre gutted to make way for a 390 square metre fitness studio. The seats and screen from both the ground level and first floor theatres would be removed and the interior converted into a single, cavernous room. The foyer would also be extensively remodelled.

The plans do not call for major changes to the building's exterior, however. The marquee and brick facade facing Bloor St. is due to be left untouched (perhaps cleaned,) though the retail area, currently occupied by a Nepali handicraft store, would be expanded and given new windows.

It's not clear whether a fitness chain will rent the space. A representative for the new owners said they were keeping their options open.

The Metro Theatre was built in 1939 and specialized in B-movies and other alternative films during its halcyon years. Starting in the 1950s, movie house became famous for screening movies with salacious titles like The Love Pill and The 1001 Perversions of Felicia (filmed "in sizzling eroticolor".)

Green, who had once hoped to revive the theatre's faded fortunes by introducing independent and foreign movies, sold to the current owners in August last year, according to documents on file with the city.

The fitness centre concept is dependent on the city granting a minor zoning variance.

Will you miss the Metro Theatre if the plans come to fruition?

Chris Bateman is a staff writer at blogTO. Follow him on Twitter at @chrisbateman.



Rob Ford / May 24, 2014 at 09:28 am
My fave theatre...reality porn.
Toronto in home personal trainer / May 24, 2014 at 10:52 am
Greasy...hopefully it becomes something positive for the community.
Helen Lovejoy / May 24, 2014 at 11:03 am
Oh yes. Mustn't have anything greasy in our society. Everything must be spotless and germ free. Maybe a giant Vikram Yoga Studio for pregnant mothers. Ohhmmmmmm.......

Will someone PLEASE think of the children?
Tripper / May 24, 2014 at 11:46 am
I live around the corner from the Metro and think this is excellent news for the community. I was afraid it would be some crappy discount store or office building.

Those creepy old dudes who frequented the theatre will just have to find somewhere else to smoke and whack off.

Maybe we can send them to your neighbourhood, Helen Lovejoy, if you think grease is such a wonderful thing to have in your community. They can hang out in a park maybe.
Helen Lovejoy / May 24, 2014 at 12:22 pm
Keep your sheer LuLuLemon's on, Tripper. I just find it depressing how everything is becoming so homogenized and boring nowadays. Everything is "icky" if it doesn't have a Starbucks or a Tim Horton's in it. I sincerely doubt if any of those men that you are so contemptuous of (perhaps your husband was one of them) hurt you or your neighbours; Bloor and Christie is more of a Polyester Mile rather than a Mink Mile. A gym will likely last about a year and then a Shawarma place will take over and last a couple of months.
Tanya / May 24, 2014 at 03:01 pm
Olivia Chow is already thinking of the kids, and our whole society is in the safe hands of Kathleen Wynne. Its Kathleen Wynne's Ontario the rest of us just live here.
Sandra / May 24, 2014 at 04:55 pm
What is the apple graphic a leftover from?
picard102 / May 24, 2014 at 04:57 pm
Let's not pretend there wont still be a generous amount of gay cruising here, as there is at all gyms.
Darin / May 24, 2014 at 07:46 pm
While I don't think too many people will be sorry to see it go, it's another example of "the old Toronto" disappearing in the wake of the ongoing development boom
Bone to pick with picard / May 25, 2014 at 01:04 am
Let's not pretend there wont still be a generous amount of STRAIGHT cruising here, as there is at all gyms.

What's your point, picard? Other than throwing in an unnecessary homophobic barb? Grow up.
Rob Ford / May 25, 2014 at 08:47 am
Wasn't it always a fitness club? I had lots of fits with Alana. Must have been the crack. Alana didn't like how sticky the floor was when she got on her knees. That floor was major Mayor sticky!
Sheila / May 25, 2014 at 09:15 am
Just like these a larger amount of straight cruising that goes on at every gym.
Steve / May 25, 2014 at 10:31 am
"Glad to see it go?" Ok, sure, it's a bit of place of ill repute but I can't help but to see and hear so many crybabies both here and in real life. Have fun with your fitness club. Keep drinking the kool-aid, er, Starbucks people of Toronto.
Doug Ford / May 25, 2014 at 11:21 am
Remember the whores in the lobby? No autistic types ever there, good neighbour! More porn theatres, more whores=better neighbours!
Elissa / May 25, 2014 at 11:31 am
Good riddance. At least the fitness centre will be useful for people.
Perry Como / May 25, 2014 at 11:57 am
I was hoping for a new honest eds
Perry Coma / May 25, 2014 at 02:03 pm
Mamma loves mambo...
Simon Tarses replying to a comment from Helen Lovejoy / May 25, 2014 at 02:49 pm
Same here, although not for the porn aspect.

I think that the Metro should be turned into a rep/beyond first-run movie theater showing independent flocks and revivals of older ones. As for porn? Unfortunately for the owners, they had no sense of reality; porn stopped being something you went to the movies for 25 years ago when VCR's become more common and affordable. Tie that in with the rise of the Internet, and didn't take a genius to see that the writing was on the wall for a place like the Metro (even the previous owner knew it, which is why he wound down his ownership of it a while back.)

I agree with Helen on one aspect; this IS shameful that this theater is closing down to be replaced by more chain stores. Toronto in danger of being nothing but a clone town, as shown in this British article/report:

If we don't stop this kind of thing, Toronto will be a place that NOBODY wants to visit due to boring chain stores and places like workout clubs (at least not downtown)-and that won't be good.
mcPhee / May 25, 2014 at 02:57 pm
Oh yes, "Elissa"; fitness centres will set us free. Finally a Fitness Centre for Toronto! Just what everyone has been waiting for for years. Now, if only we could get a Shawarma joint we'd be world class.
Health Habits / May 25, 2014 at 08:32 pm
Similarity between old porno theatres and a modern health club (formerly known as gyms)

1. Copious amounts of bodily fluids (diff sources but still..)
2. stripper poles

Everything old is new again
john replying to a comment from Helen Lovejoy / May 25, 2014 at 11:28 pm
How do a fitness club and shawarma place homogenize Korea Town?

I doubt Helen Lovejoy that you have been inside.

I live near by and it would nice fantastic for someone to revitalize the property and turn it into somewhere the kids can be active.

Ana / May 25, 2014 at 11:33 pm
I welcome this change to the neighborhood . Id like to see someone else try and make a go of it in that prime space besides a porn theatre.
Think John... think / May 26, 2014 at 12:38 am
"How do a fitness club and shawarma place homogenize Korea Town"?

Have a thought about that for a moment, John. You may just answer your own question! :)
Rob Ford / May 26, 2014 at 08:48 am
More whores in the audience than on the screen. Got my first blow job there, back before I was impotent.
t / May 26, 2014 at 11:19 am
It went for $2.9 million.
Rob Ford / May 26, 2014 at 07:44 pm
That was no tranny...that was my sister Kathy!
AA / May 28, 2014 at 07:03 am
Square metres?
Rob Ford / May 28, 2014 at 04:34 pm
Fitness? Wazzat??
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