Bayview spot stocks relics of the silver screen
The city’s biggest movie poster shop is a destination for TIFF season by Jessica Wei
The Movie Poster Warehouse has been a destination for film buffs and cinephiles since it opened in 1992. Before that, Max Candel, the founder of the store, ran the Theatre Poster Exchange, which supplied movie posters to cinemas across Toronto. David Wallach is the grandson of Max Candel and has been working at the shop on and off for 15 years. He reckons they have around a million posters in the warehouse on Leslie Street.
Where do your posters come from?
They come from all over the place. We buy off different suppliers all over the world. We buy from personal collections as well, from people who have amassed thousands of posters in their lifetimes. We also buy off auction sites, and people find us through our site. Our business is twopronged –– we’re trying to push posters to sell and, at the same time, trying to find cool rare stuff and bring it into our collection.
Most valuable poster?
Right now, it’s Attack of the 50 Foot Woman, which retails for about $17,000 U.S. It’s from 1958, and it’s got this really iconic artwork and imagery, this 50-foot woman terrorizing the city. It was printed at the time the movie came out, and they only printed a limited number of them, so it’s considered a collector’s item. There are posters that can go for hundreds of thousands of dollars, like an original King Kong or a Gone with the Wind or a Casablanca.
Any golden moments in store history that you can recall?
Every month or so, somebody comes in and says, “Oh, I haven’t been here in 10 years.” A couple of weeks ago, a gentleman came in and said he knew my grandfather and had filmed a documentary about the store. He said he had filmed the old warehouse and my grandparents and that he still had some footage. I was blown away by that (1875 Leslie St., #17).
David Wallach with part of the collection of movie posters at his store