paradise toronto

Toronto movie theatre is streaming films online and lets you buy tickets for healthcare workers

It seems like everyone is doing their part to support healthcare workers during the pandemic, and the city's newest theatre is no different.

Paradise Theatre on Bloor is one of many local businesses that have had to close its doors after being open for only a few months.

But it's making the most of the situation by offering virtual screenings of a variety of films, from obscure cinephile delights to cat videos.

"Unsurprisingly, the fun and hopeful movies have done the best right now," said Director of Communications Sonya Williams.

She said films like Fantastic Fungi—a documentary about mushrooms—is about the surprising hope that they offer for humans and the world at large.

"Unlike Netflix, Paradise is inherently a local business, and we honour that by filling our newsletter and social media with local recommendations, and donating these "Pay It Forward" tickets to Toronto's front-line workers and charities," she said.

Last week Paradise launched the Pay It Forward initiative to accompany the virtual screenings. 

"For every ticket sold (via online streaming), Paradise will donate two tickets to front-line workers for use when the theatre has re-opened," reads a press release.

"Paradise has decided to support three major avenues of care: food security, shelter, and health. There is of course significant crossover between the groups, because food access is critical to shelter, shelter is critical to health, and so on."

Charities like The Stop Community Food Centre and Sistering are some of the organizations the Pay It Forward initiative will be helping.

"The beauty of this idea is that nobody needs to buy separate tickets for healthcare workers," said Williams.

 "Everyone who streams a movie online from Virtual Paradise Theatre is automatically donating two free tickets to front-line workers when we re-open. We wanted to give back to the people who are working so hard to protect our city. And what better way than treating them to a great night out, once we're on the other side of the curve?" 

Paradise has also begun The Social Distancing Newsletter to stay in touch with audiences while it's closed.

"We all know that these times are definitely Not Normal, so little things like a cinema continuing to show films helps bring some kind of comfort and throughline."

Lead photo by

Fareen Karim


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