Let’s save the Re­gent Theatre

Josh Mat­low Ward 22 Coun­cil­lor

Bayview Post - - News -

The iconic Re­gent Theatre on Mount Pleas­ant Road is un­der threat. Our com­mu­nity re­cently learned that the own­ers have put the his­toric cin­ema up for sale.

The Re­gent, opened as the Bel­size in 1927, and later known as the Crest, has been a cin­ema and has also hosted live theater pro­duc­tions in­clud­ing vaude­ville acts.

Un­like many older movie houses that have been sig­nif­i­cantly mod­i­fied, the Re­gent’s stage could still be eas­ily adapted for plays and con­certs. This fea­ture, along with be­ing one of the few the­aters of this size in Toronto to have a bal­cony, were among the rea­sons it was listed as a her­itage build­ing and iden­ti­fied by the City of Toronto as a key cul­tural space.

In an ef­fort to pro­tect the theater’s built form and pur­pose, I’m bring­ing to­gether lo­cal res­i­dents, our city’s arts and cul­ture sup­port­ers, to look for fea­si­ble op­tions for the site. For ex­am­ple, join­ing our ef­forts is the Re­vue Film So­ci­ety, a grass­roots or­ga­ni­za­tion of com­mu­nity mem­bers that came to­gether to save the Re­vue cin­ema on Ron­ces­valles in Toronto’s west end. Run as a non-profit, the Re­vue is now a thriv­ing movie house. There are many other models we are ex­plor­ing too.

The city does not have the re­sources to pur­chase the $9 mil­lion prop­erty alone. How­ever, I have also brought in ex­perts from the City of Toronto, Eco­nomic De­vel­op­ment & Cul­ture Di­vi­sion to of­fer ad­vice on how to pro­tect this lo­cal trea­sure.

I will con­tinue to look at ev­ery op­por­tu­nity to save this land­mark in the heart of mid­town.

The theatre at 551 Mount Pleas­ant Rd. near Bel­size Drive

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