Mt. Pleas­ant & Re­gent the­atres given her­itage prop­erty des­ig­na­tion

Dav­isville land­marks opened in the ’20s and con­tinue to show films to­day

Midtown Post - - Contents - by Chris Rid­dell

These movie houses are iconic in­sti­tu­tions in our Mid­town neigh­bour­hood.”

Re­gent The­atre and Mount Pleas­ant The­atre have both been a prom­i­nent part of Dav­isville vil­lage since the 1920s. Now, thanks to a mo­tion put for­ward by coun­cil­lor Josh Mat­low of Ward 22, St. Paul’s, both build­ings will stay that way. The two the­atres were granted her­itage sta­tus by the Toronto and East York Com­mu­nity Coun­cil in May.

“These movie houses are iconic in­sti­tu­tions in our Mid­town neigh­bour­hood,” said Mat­low. “When you come to the Dav­isville vil­lage, they stand out. They tell you where you are and give you a sense of iden­tity and a story in the com­mu­nity. This is clearly linked to the ar­chi­tec­tural and cul­tural story of our com­mu­nity.”

The des­ig­na­tion comes at an im­por­tant time as sev­eral his­toric build­ings in Mid­town have been torn down in re­cent years, in­clud­ing the cen­tury-old Bank of Mon­treal build­ing at Yonge Street and Roselawn Av­enue and the Stollerys build­ing at Yonge and Bloor Street. Mount Pleas­ant The­atre, at 675 Mt Pleas­ant Rd., opened in 1926 and is one of Toronto’s old­est sur­viv­ing movie the­atres.

Re­gent The­atre, at 551 Mount Pleas­ant Rd., opened in 1927 as the Bel­size The­atre. The mar­quee on the build­ing fa­cade and the ar­chi­tec­tural styling of the build­ing rep­re­sent the work of ar­chi­tect Mur­ray Brown, who was well-known for de­sign­ing movie the­atres across Canada. Both the­atres are cur­rently owned by Dawn and Dan Sorokolit. While a her­itage des­ig­na­tion is widely con­sid­ered an hon­our that en­sures a build­ing will re­main a part of Toronto’s his­tory, it’s pos­si­ble the the­atres’ own­ers might not be happy about the des­ig­na­tion. Mov­ing for­ward, any plans to de­mol­ish or build over­top of ei­ther prop­erty will be sub­ject to fur­ther ap­proval from Her­itage Preser­va­tion Ser­vices.

Post City reached out to the own­ers about the des­ig­na­tion, how­ever nei­ther was avail­able for com­ment.

“The the­atres re­ally are im­por­tant to the land­scape and the streetscape along Mount Pleas­ant Road.… They were both built at a time when the city was re­ally ex­pand­ing north­ward,” said Kaitlin Wain­wright, di­rec­tor of pro­gram­ming at Her­itage Toronto. “They re­ally are touch­stones in a way that hear­kens back to that pe­riod of change.”

Al­though com­mu­nity the­atres across Toronto have largely been re­placed by big mul­ti­plexes, like the Sco­tia­bank The­atre, Mount Pleas­ant and Re­gent the­atres both con­tinue to show films to­day.

Coun­cil­lor Josh Mat­low stands out­side Mount Pleas­ant The­atre

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