Loft Cinemas

373 Yonge Street,
Toronto, ON M5B

Unfavorite 2 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

ScreenClassic on November 27, 2019 at 5:56 pm

The Loft Cinemas' status should now be set to Demolished. The former Loft/Rio Theatre building is no longer standing in the current Google Maps street view as its site, along with several neighboring buildings, has been cleared for redevelopment.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm

I guess the giant skyscrapers will soon be displacing this diverse, colorful, human-scaled stretch of Yonge Street with more large scale monotony. I hope someone saves at least a few of the old buildings to leaven the mass.

truenorthstrongnfree on April 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm

This theatre closed permanently as of March, 2017. The entire block is scheduled for re-zoning.

DavidZornig on March 8, 2017 at 11:38 pm

1980’s photo added, photo credit City Of Toronto Archives, via the below article.

truenorthstrongnfree on March 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm

Article on the Loft Cinemas' most popular era, as the “Rio”.

Rio on December 10, 2014 at 7:25 pm

The former auditorium no longer exists. The small screens (“the Loft Cinemas”) are upstairs, where the projection booth and offices used to be. The main floor recently went up for rent again. It’s empty now.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 10, 2014 at 7:21 pm

OK – look at the current Street View. The entrance to the left of the main adult shop says “Loft Cinemas” which clearly are an adult movie theatre that is currently open with “six theatres” and “14 mini cinemas”.

Does anyone know how that works? Is the former auditorium all carved up, or maybe the former balcony? Or could it be former office space above the lobby?

If anyone lives in Toronto I’d love to know.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 25, 2013 at 3:01 am

This house had become the National Theatre by 1922, nine years after it had opened as the Big Nickel Theatre. Manager S. Garr’s promotional efforts on behalf of Universal’s feature Robinson Crusoe were noted in the July 29, 1922, issue of the studio’s house organ, Universal Weekly.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 27, 2011 at 11:14 am

The architect of the Big Nickel Theatre was John Wilson Siddall. I will upload a photo of the facade as it originally appeared in 1913, from the trade journal Construction.

Rio on November 27, 2011 at 3:12 am

We’re posting shots of some of our amazing Rio posters here: There are still a few boxes we haven’t even catalogued yet!

Gergs on November 27, 2011 at 2:45 am

Hey all, I’m currently writing a paper on some grindhouse cinemas in Toronto and am looking for detailed stories of experiences at the Rio in the 1980s. If this sounds up your alley, please email me at

Though certain cinemas are bringing this type of “trio at the Rio” back, I don’t know if I will ever experience a cinema like one must have experienced a grindhouse theatre in the 70s-80s.

William Mewes
William Mewes on July 15, 2011 at 7:38 pm

Hi Rio ! Thank You for posting and please keep us updated.

Rio on January 27, 2011 at 4:39 pm

My family owned and operated the Rio from 1949 until my grandmother finally closed it down in 1991. It’s no nice to read that people still remember it! I still have nearly all the movie posters that we kept when the building was sold. I’ve had them now for twenty years, but I have never done anything with them. I am now preparing our first public exhibit of some of that collection, which will be somewhere in downtown Toronto. I’ll have more details in the coming weeks, but if any of you have any movie poster requests, please e-mail me. Stay tuned!

SilentToronto on January 22, 2011 at 4:53 pm

Hey all, here’s a shot of the Rio in 1985 with Missing In Action 2 on the bill. It actually opened as the Big Nickel in 1913 as per a contemporaneous article in Construction Magazine.

AJOHMSS on December 23, 2010 at 5:31 am

The picture posted by Grainger on Oct. 19, 2008 is from the summer of 1973.
That is when Toronto turned Yonge Street into a pedestrian mall.

CSWalczak on December 3, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Thanks for that for that correction.

Here’s an updated link to the picture of the Rio that I posted on June 5, 2008: View link

JCharles on December 3, 2010 at 5:52 pm

The closure date is incorrect. The Rio shuttered sometime during the spring of 1991. The last time I walked by the theatre when it was in operation, they were showing THE SILENCE OF THE LAMBS and DANCES WITH WOLVES, the only time I had ever known the Rio to run less than four movies at once.

Sonystyles on January 25, 2010 at 4:34 am

I spent many a Friday night at the Rio back in the late eighties. They used to have the trio at the Rio and was one of the last good grindhouse theaters around. Many people think of this theater as an adult theater, but it was truley more…..

scruffywilber on January 21, 2010 at 1:11 am

Here is how it looks as of January 18th 2010

CSWalczak on June 26, 2009 at 11:51 pm

Here’s an updated link to the picture I posted on June 5, 2008:
View link

Grainger on October 19, 2008 at 9:11 pm

Here it is showing movies released in 1965 , 1967 and 1969.

Going by that and the hair cuts I am going to guess this is from 1969 or 1970 ?

View link

Grainger on July 24, 2008 at 1:20 am

And a similar one but showing more of the surrounding area.

View link

Grainger on July 24, 2008 at 1:20 am

Here is one taken from the 12th floor of the “Delta Chelsea Hotel” across the street in June 2008

View link

CSWalczak on July 23, 2008 at 5:33 am

At its opening in 1939 in was the National theatre; it became the Rio in 1943. It should have an aka.

Grainger on July 22, 2008 at 2:34 am

Here it is looking south on Yonge from Walton

View link