Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

506 Bloor Street West,
Toronto, ON M5S 1Y3

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DavidZornig on November 6, 2019 at 7:43 pm

1981 photo added credit Don Dickinson.

JCharles on August 7, 2014 at 11:40 am

The theatre switched from running censored pornography as the Eden to first run movies as the Bloor on March 16, 1979. It later became a repertory house, while retaining the Bloor name, and that is how most Toronto cinephiles remember it most fondly.

CSWalczak on January 3, 2012 at 2:59 am

Eric Veillette, on one of the articles he later wrote for his Silent Toronto website, did unravel the mystery of why the Midtown/Bloor’s facade looks so different from that of its earlier incarnation as the Madison. The current theater is a essentially a new structure built in 1940 and opened in 1941. Only some outer sidewalls from the Madison were retained. The article is here:

DavidZornig on March 25, 2011 at 2:04 pm

Incidentally, Howard Kaylan was in attendance at the premiere & answered audience questions. He thanked the Bloor staff & the press for their reception on his official website.

DavidZornig on March 25, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Sometime in 2008, The Bloor held the premiere of “My Dinner With Jimi”. A film by Howard Kaylan, lead singer of `60’s folk rock group The Turtles. The film chronicled the night in London he met Jimi Hendrix & The Beatles.

CSWalczak on January 27, 2011 at 2:46 am

I enjoy your site, Eric. Perhaps you could shed some light on an puzzle that has intrigued me and others such as Jon Lidolt for some time. It is known that this theater was born as the Madison, then became the Midtown, and then the Bloor Cinema (along with at least two other names at various points). Looking at the pictures of the theatre over the decades, we wonder when (if not how) the theatre’s façade changed so radically from its appearance as the Madison, with its stately lower facade, its arched cornice, and bay windows to the rather dull street face it has now and from at least the Midtown period. It is as if that grander original façade was ripped off and replaced with the dull brick front which it now sports. I have always wondered if this is what happened or if perhaps a new building housing the entrance was built, probably in the 1940’s. (See the comments above from June 26, 27, and July 2, 2009 and pictures that are linked to in a number of the comments).

SilentToronto on January 22, 2011 at 11:22 am

Hey all, the Bloor’s correct opening date is December 23, 1913 (as the Madison). You can read a little more about it at my site Silent Toronto.

JCharles on January 3, 2011 at 4:23 pm

A two part 2006 documentary on the history of the Bloor —

Part 1:

Part 2:
View link

danimbrogno on October 25, 2010 at 4:34 pm

The official Bloor cinema website is back online the address is:

Please update the link in the description above.

Azzaelea on November 12, 2009 at 3:22 pm

The Bloor Cinema appeared in a season 1 episode of CBC’s “Being Erica” called “Mi Casa, Su Casa Loma”.

Not only did they set the scene by showing an exterior shot, but also Erica and friends inside.

The episode in question is available on online, with advertisements, for Canadians, here—> View link

CSWalczak on July 2, 2009 at 11:53 am

It is puzzling; were it not for the fact that the building to the right of the theatre appears to remain the same (right down the connection for utility wires on the building’s extreme left), one might think that one of the archival pictures is mislabled. I think it is possible that the building in the 1919 picture may have completely replaced for some reason. (Perhaps too it was only the building through which one entered the auditorium section). Comparing the 1945 and 1917 pictures, it would appear that the building to the left of the theatre was replaced, as it is not as high as the theatre building whereas in the 1919 picture the building to the left theatre was just about as high as the theatre’s facade.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on July 2, 2009 at 9:51 am

If the structure mentioned by CWalczak was actually the same building that we now know as the Bloor Cinema, what happened? How did that charming structure turn into the ugly looking exterior that now faces Bloor Street?

CSWalczak on June 27, 2009 at 5:07 am

And here’s an updated link to the theatre as the Madison in 1919:
View link

CSWalczak on June 26, 2009 at 4:58 pm

According to the Ontario Archives, here is the theater’s interior as the Capri:
and this is an updated link to the 1945 picture of the theater as the Midtown originally posted by Lost Memory on June 4, 2008:

igoudge on June 26, 2009 at 4:18 pm

I still remmeber being introduced to this venue during the 2002 Hot Docs fest and fell in love with it! Great old school rep house sheak with the curtain and one of the few movies houses still around in the city with a functioning balcony which is key for me. Still got to say one of the highlights was introducing someone to the Shinning for the first time there and watching Raiders and Last Crusade there February 2008 along with Dogma at the Kevin Smith fest.

telliott on February 21, 2009 at 12:42 pm

Yes, Cadillac Records is having a first run engagement there now…

telliott on February 21, 2009 at 11:59 am

That’s the beautiful University theatre at 100 Bloor st W near Bay. It’s now a Pottery Barn. There was a plan by Famous Players to rebuild a theatre there as part of a condo-retail project and were to call it the University 9. But alas the developer cut out the theatre plans so now just a condo and retail are there.

robboehm on February 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

Well, if the Bloor is still functioning, what theatre on Bloor that only had the facade in tact for a number of years and is now retail space am I thinking about. I used to go to Toronto once a year for a long period, remember the theatre being functional, going dark and then only the facade remaining.

DavidZornig on February 21, 2009 at 11:11 am

Does anyone have more history on the difference between the 1919 & the 1945 photos? It’s almost as if the shaved the entire facade of the building off. Eliminating window configurations and the giant arch completely.
Although the building to the right appears to be the same, the bay windows seem wider in 1945 pic. Although the reveal around them is identical.
In any event, that’s quite a massive transformation for their to be no record of.

Jon Lidolt
Jon Lidolt on February 21, 2009 at 11:06 am

This theatre is definitely still open and running movies on a daily basis. The 20th Century Theatres chain operated this venue for many years as a second run house called the Midtown. In the mid to late 60’s the company changed the name to the Capri and tried to book it as a first-run arthouse. I know about it because I was the art director for 20 Century Theatres at the time and designed the ads announcing the opening of the “new” Capri. In reality nothing really changed except for the name of the theatre on the outside of the building.

robboehm on February 21, 2009 at 8:29 am

This site is so out of date. The theatre was closed quite a few years ago and all but the facade remained. You could look through the front doors and see rubble. When I was last in Toronto, mid 2008 they finally had built retail space (I don’t remember who was the occupant) but the marquee was kept in the design.

danpetitpas on November 25, 2008 at 4:38 pm

Here’s an article about the Bloor talking about how an astronomy fan painted an accurate 7,000-star representation of the night sky on the roof of the balcony over the orchestra seats and gives astronomy talks there.

CSWalczak on June 4, 2008 at 3:45 pm

Sorry- wrong URL. This one is of the Madison in 1919:

View link

CSWalczak on June 4, 2008 at 3:38 pm

Here’s a picture fronm 1919; it’s hard to believe it’s now what is the Bloor Cinema today.

View link

jlangdon on January 14, 2008 at 12:15 pm

The Madison opened in 1905.
It was largely renovated from the end of 1940 to spring of 1941 to become the Midtown.
It had two other names, one was “The Eden”.

Finally in 1979, this theatre was renamed The Bloor Cinema and that is still its name today.