Empire Capitol 7

223 Princess Street,
Kingston, ON K7L 1B3

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Allen Theatres, Cineplex Odeon, Empire Theatres, Famous Players

Architects: Charles Howard Crane

Firms: Kiehler & Schley

Styles: Adam

Previous Names: Allen Theatre, Capitol Theatre, Capitol 7 Kingston

Phone Numbers: Box Office: 613.564.6741

Nearby Theaters

Empire Capitol 7

Located in the heart of historic downtown Kingston, the Allen Theatre was opened by the Allen Theatres chain on December 30, 1920. It had a 1,207 seating capacity. Later taken over by Famous Players it was renamed Capitol Theatre on December 10, 1923.

It was twinned on November 1, 1973. It was converted into 4-screens on March 11, 1977. Renovated in 1990, the Capitol 7 was for a long time a wonderful place for families to go and watch first run films. The Capitol 7 was one of the oldest functioning theatres in Ontario, and the friendly staff and management really did a great job maintaining its strong reputation.

What singled this theatre out from others in the area was that the staff seem to really ‘care’ about their job and gave customers the best experience possible. The lobby and auditoriums were always clean. The ushers were always friendly and often approach you after the film and inquire as to your opinion of it (they even sometimes remember what movie you saw!!) The sound levels were always perfect (and if they weren’t, staff were more than happy to adjust it at the audience’s request). Rarely were there scratches or problems with the films and the projectionists were constantly adjusting the focus to make the picture as clear as possible.

Sure the screens weren’t as large as other theatres in the area, but the overall experience made this theatre the best place to go to watch movies in Kingston. It was closed on December 20, 2012 when the new Empire Theatres Kingston multiplex opened in another part of town.

Contributed by Damon Lindelof

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on January 18, 2012 at 12:15 am

It’s closing? Shame. Always wanted to visit there, but understand if there’s a new one opening nearby. (I keep hearing about how awesome the new Empire locations are, even though they have yet to build one in BC).

I too am curious how they divided it up and would love to see interior photos.

telliott on January 18, 2012 at 12:52 am

I know Jason, I always hoped to make it here too. I love the marquee out front and on Google streetview have gone around to the back where it appears that there is the original building and an add on to the north of it. They have a marquee back there too.

By the way, LOVE LOVE the photos you posted awhile back showing the late great Uptown in Toronto, OMG I miss that place. Now there is an art deco looking condo building on the site called…The Uptown. I especially love the photo taken from the front and above, showing the tall Uptown sign, and the entrance leading from the main doors, up over the alleyway to the main huge Uptown building with the great black roof. That is exactly the view from my nephew’s former apartment when he lived in the tower of the Hudson’s Bay Centre.

telliott on February 3, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I guess no one from Kingston knows how this was divided up. Too bad Empire couldn’t update this location instead of building way up near 401. That will leave downtown Kingston with only the small Screening Room. That’s a shame. Downtown Windsor recently lost it only cinema location, ironic since both Windsor & Kingston downtowns are close to their respective universities, which I’m sure makes up a good portion of their audience.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on February 28, 2012 at 1:25 am

Hey Tim,

I think I recall those Uptown pics were from another person’s Flickr account. That and the archive photos were the only photos I ever found of the place.

As for the Kingston 7, I couldn’t find photos either but it would appear the multiplexing was done under the 80’s Famous Players design where every cinema had a name (“Rialto” “Bijou” etc). There are still two of them in existence in Greater Vancouver (Esplanade 6 in North Van and Station Square 7 in Burnaby) and are both good cinemas.

telliott on February 28, 2012 at 10:23 am

That’s cool Jason. I remember several Toronto area theatres that were named the same way. I guess any Famous Players theatre built or renovated during that era had their cinemas named for former movie palaces. I thought that was a great idea. My favourite was the Oakville Town Centre cinemas where the lobby looked like a street, with the ceiling blue as the sky and each cinema entrance had their own marquee each in a different style with their cinema name and what was playing. Looked just like an old fashioned main street.

rivest266 on December 21, 2021 at 12:25 pm

This opened as the Allen theatre on December 30th, 1920. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on December 21, 2021 at 12:49 pm

Reopened as Capitol on December 10th, 1923. Another ad posted.

rivest266 on December 21, 2021 at 3:46 pm

Two screens on November 1st, 1973. Another ad posted.

rivest266 on December 21, 2021 at 4:04 pm

4 screens on March 11th, 1977. Another ad posted.

Spectrum Entertainment
Spectrum Entertainment on June 10, 2022 at 9:15 pm

The cinema closed on the night of December 20, 2012. Its final films included Rise of the Guardians, Skyfall, Life of Pi 3D, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey 3D, and Playing for Keeps.

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