Beloved Toronto movie theatre shuts down after more than three decades of flicks
A mainstay of midtown Toronto's Yonge and Eglinton area for over a generation and a relic of a bygone era of cinema has been shuttered: The Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas has announced its closure after showing its last movie this past Sunday.
Hidden away in the Canada Square complex at the southwest corner of Yonge and Eglinton, the theatre was a last holdout using the Famous Players brand after the theatre operator became a subsidiary of Cineplex, the majority of its theatres taking on that branding in the aughts.
Confirmed by @CineplexMovies: Canada Square (which never removed 'Famous Players' marquee) has closed. I'll never again be able to skip work, have lunch at Mandarin, then watch 2nd-run movie with senior citizens while admiring cupholders w/defunct Eye Weekly logo. A genuine loss! pic.twitter.com/tpDOZp8Q9n— Barry Hertz (@HertzBarry) October 25, 2021
A Cineplex representative confirmed to blogTO that "Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas in Toronto closed as of the end of business on October 24, 2021. We thank the community for their support of this location over the years and look forward to welcoming them across the street at our Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Eglinton and VIP theatre."
"This theatre offers newer amenities and enhanced movie experiences that our guests love, such as VIP Cinemas, UltraAVX, D-BOX, and more. All employees of Famous Players Canada Square Cinemas have been offered positions at other Cineplex theatres in the Greater Toronto Area."
Opened initially as a Loews Cineplex in December 1985, the eight-screen theatre was previously shuttered after the glitzy new Famous Players SilverCity opened across the street in 1998, though Famous Players would quickly scoop up the theatre.
While Famous Players would buy this Cineplex location, Cineplex got the last laugh when its owner, Onex Corporation, purchased the entire Famous Players brand in 2005, the shiny new SilverCity across the street included.
Canada Square 8-plex, Yonge & Eglinton, Toronto ON, opened #OTD Dec 20, 1985. Architect Kenneth R Cooper. Important step in Drabinsky's turning Cineplex into luxury cinemas soon after the Odeon takeover. If you saw Cineplex-Odeon movies in the 80s and 90s, you went here - often! pic.twitter.com/J2WXU47HCe— Paul Moore (@PSMooreRyerson) December 21, 2020
The Famous Players Canada Square was always a popular alternative to the newer SilverCity, with a more relaxed atmosphere, sparser crowds, and a comparatively retro feel.
And it wasn't just a hidden gem for locals.
The theatre also contributed to Toronto's rich cultural mosaic, being among the few mainstream theatres in the city to regularly play foreign language films. It even hosted the Reelworld Film Festival, helping to attract people of various backgrounds from across the region.
The theatre was never one to draw crowds, and with the pandemic having "devastating" impacts on the movie business, it likely became impossible to justify two multiplexes next door to each other.
It had only been reopened for a few months before the decision was made to pull the plug.
This theatre has been revived once before, but a future redevelopment of the entire complex limits the potential of a third life for the aging cinema complex.
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