Par­adise The­atre to re­open late 2018

Art deco cin­ema gets new life, with el­e­vated din­ing and up­dated glam­our

Annex Post - - NEWS - By Jes­sica Wei

Af­ter over a decade spent va­cant, Par­adise The­atre, the Sec­ond World War–era art deco cin­ema at the cor­ner of Bloor Street and West­more­land Av­enue will be given a new life as a fully re­stored cin­ema –– but with a few up­dated perks.

The Par­adise The­atre first opened in 1937 and was de­signed by no­table Toronto ar­chi­tect Ben­jamin Brown, who also de­signed the Bal­four Build­ing at Spad­ina Av­enue and Ade­laide Street as well as a num­ber of other art deco build­ings around the down­town core. The build­ing was des­ig­nated as a her­itage prop­erty in 2012. Shortly af­ter, it was pur­chased by Moray Tawse, a Cana­dian vint­ner and fi­nancier.

“In [Tawse’s] child­hood, his mother worked at a cin­ema in Rex­dale, and cin­ema was kind of his day­care,” said David Thorek, di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions at Par­adise The­atre. “There is a nos­tal­gia for him about old clas­sic the­atre. He wanted to save this one.”

How­ever, it doesn’t take an es­tab­lished fi­nancier to re­al­ize that sin­gle­screen cin­e­mas aren’t the most re­li­able busi­ness ven­tures in 2018. With an am­bi­tious din­ing pro­gram, their plans aim to de­liver more than just a bright light in a dark room. In fact, they’ve taken out the old film pro­jec­tion booth al­to­gether in favour of a bar with 36 lounge seats. There will be a dig­i­tal pro­jec­tor in the au­di­to­rium.

“There is this amaz­ing trend in New York right now where they’ve made it a much richer ex­pe­ri­ence by hav­ing great films but also amaz­ing food and bev­er­age op­tions,” said Thorek, cit­ing as ex­am­ples Nighthawk Cin­ema and the Met­ro­graph.

With the help of Solid De­sign Creative for the in­te­rior de­sign, Ware Mal­comb Ar­chi­tects as the lead ar­chi­tects and ERA Ar­chi­tects as her­itage con­sul­tants, they were able to bring the build­ing up to code while re­tain­ing key ar­chi­tec­tural el­e­ments. Ac­cord­ing to Julie Tyn­dorf, an as­so­ciate with ERA Ar­chi­tects, the el­e­ments that were con­sid­ered of her­itage value were mostly on the ex­te­rior of the build­ing, but chal­lenges pre­sented them­selves with ac­ces­si­bil­ity as well as the sign and mar­quee out­side, which had to be re­built to match the orig­i­nal.

“We’re ex­cited to see it fi­nally open,” said Tyn­dorf. “It’s been a long process and one that we’ve worked on with a num­ber of con­sul­tants in or­der to en­sure that the build­ing main­tains its her­itage value now and in the fu­ture.”

The Par­adise The­atre is aim­ing to open in late 2018.

There is a nos­tal­gia for him about old clas­sic the­atre. He wanted to save this one.”

David Thorek, Par­adise The­atre’s di­rec­tor of op­er­a­tions, at the site

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