Ontario Place Cinesphere

955 Lakeshore Boulevard West,
Toronto, ON M6K 3B9

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Additional Info

Functions: Movies (Family), Movies (Film Festivals)

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Flyer for 70MM film festival

Opened in 1971, the Ontario Place Cinesphere was the world’s first permanent IMAX theatre.

The theater was also capable of projecting both 35MM and 70MM format film. The Cinesphere had a massive 24,000 watt digital sound system, installed for <em>Rolling Stones: At The Max</em>. It was one of the first theaters to offer full stadium seating, and offered one of the larger seating capacities in Toronto.

Film offerings varied from IMAX amd large format documentaries to 2nd run Hollywood, as well as ethnic content such as South Asian and European films.

It was closed on February 1, 2012. It was reopened November 3, 2017.

Contributed by David Calado

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

alknobloch on June 9, 2009 at 1:27 am

This theater is just as amazing today as it was upon opening in 1971. It is part of a complex know as Ontario Place, which is actually 3 man-made islands on the Toronto shoreline. The triodetic-dome structure appears to be rising out of Lake Ontario apart from these islands.

Living in Buffalo at the time, I was a frequent visitor here. One day, I got up the nerve to talk my way into the projection room and was rewarded by not only a complete tour of the working equipment but also obtaining a few frames of a Imax print – which I still have to this day.

Spire on March 11, 2012 at 2:44 pm

The Ontario government closed most of Ontario Place, including the Cinesphere, on February 1, 2012. Interestingly enough, the Cinesphere had just underwent a $2-million renovation the previous year which included the installation of a new IMAX GT 15/70 projector. The park will be closed until 2015, when it will reopen for the Pan Am Games, and then the park will be “redeveloped.”

A real shame…

scoldsteve on May 28, 2013 at 8:48 pm

Unfortunately there wasn’t all that much to see at the Cinesphere aside from a few IMAX films.. The only real main attraction for regular films was when they had the 70MM film festivals or films that were blown up to be shown on that large of a screen.. Much like todays reserved seating in many of the theaters, you had to buy a seat through Ticketmaster that it was like a concert. Jurassic Park was great on that size of canvass.

coasternut (Robert Morrow)
coasternut (Robert Morrow) on September 17, 2015 at 5:31 pm

Tickets for the 70MM Festival could be bought at the Box Office before or at the time of the performance. I never purchased a ticket through Ticketmaster.

The first production in IMAX was North of Superior. See more information about the film here…https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_of_Superior

rl_83 on July 25, 2016 at 1:56 am

Does anyone know the location of the DP70s that were installed here?

truenorthstrongnfree on August 10, 2017 at 4:22 pm

Apparently, the Cinesphere is part of a revitalization project at Ontario Place, and it is scheduled to be part of TIFF this year as part of its Cinematheque programme. The first film scheduled to be screened is North of Superior, which was the first film shown there in 1971.


James Corbett
James Corbett on November 4, 2017 at 8:59 pm

The cinesphere re-opened on November 3rd 2017. It features a new 60x80 foot screen. They have also installed an imax laser projector and kept the old 15/70 equipment to show prints

truenorthstrongnfree on November 8, 2017 at 9:31 am

Tickets for Ontario Place Cinesphere screenings are sold through Eventbrite. Doesn’t look like there is any reserved seating, so I guess it’s a free-for-all?

MSC77 on August 26, 2023 at 5:16 pm

This venue’s 70mm presentations history is included in the recently-published article “70mm Presentations in Toronto: A Chronology of 70mm Large Format Exhibition, 1956-Present”.

m00se1111 on October 19, 2023 at 2:52 pm

As part of the redevelopment of Ontario Place, construction activities have started across the site, including repairs to the Cinesphere. To ensure continued public safety, the Cinesphere was closed in the Fall of 2022, and it will remain closed during active construction.

The province is committed to protecting the heritage of the Cinesphere and POD complex and is currently exploring opportunities for their reuse in the redeveloped Ontario Place. Most PODs have been vacant for decades and need extensive interior and exterior renovation. Maintenance and repair work is planned to stabilize and prevent further deterioration of the Cinesphere, PODs and adjacent bridges while the redevelopment project progresses.

An experienced team, Elite Construction, has been retained and commenced repair work in spring 2022, which focused on the exterior of the pods and Cinesphere. An independent cultural heritage expert, Stevens Burgess Architects has also been retained to ensure the work is sensitive and appropriate given that these structures and features are heritage attributes. A natural heritage consultant is also advising the government and construction team on how to ensure that wildlife in these areas are protected and any impacts are lawfully mitigated.

There may be some restrictions to public access around these buildings and structures during the work, which should continue throughout 2022 and 2023, but efforts will be made to minimize disruptions where possible.

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