The Carlton Theatre to Close December 6

moviesRight after getting married in the mid-90s, my wife and I moved into a bachelor apartment near Yonge and Bloor. That's when we discovered the best movies, the films critics raved about and the masses rejected, could always be found at The Carlton cinema.

We've since moved west of the downtown core and procreated, so we don't get to The Carlton very often, but I'm still very sad to see it's closing December 6, 2009.

One of the last remaining shoebox multiplexes from the Reagan era, the Carlton opened its doors in 1981 during the Canadian indie-cinema renaissance, providing a venue for local filmmakers like Ron Mann to screen their earliest efforts. Since then, the theatre has provided valuable screen time to small Canadian distribution companies (Mongrel Media, Films We Like), hosting obscure international films for extended runs enough that would allow them to build an audience through word of mouth.

I saw many great films at The Carlton cinema, but I think my all-time favourite Carlton movie experience was seeing "Crumb" there in '95. "Crumb" wasn't playing anywhere else in the city, but I had read enough about it to know I had to see it. Then, I saw it, and it was even better than I could have hoped. I absolutely loved "Crumb", and I still think about it to this day. I'm not sure where today's "Crumb" will play.

With the closing of The Carlton, all instrumental theatres of my youth will be gone: The Runnymede Theatre and Humber Odeon I grew up with and the Uptown Theatre and Carlton Cinema of my young adulthood. Like Heraclitus said, nothing is permanent but change.

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I am very disappointed the cinema has to go. The landlord is not interested keeping that space as a cinema. No one would buy a business that loses money. I have to blame the public's movie going habits since everyone prefer Hollywood films and amenities of a modern multiplex like the AMC down the street on Yonge.

November 18, 2009 @ 1:30 AM

Mike from Lowville

"We've since moved west of the downtown core and procreated" now that caught me off guard! lol

November 18, 2009 @ 9:11 AM

Wayward Westoby

I heard this today and cannot believe it - it is horrible news. While the public's movie going habits have changed, Cineplex has done nothing to invest in The Carlton and thus discouraged patronage. Yes, the screens are small, however the VIP rooms at The Varsity do very well. With a little TLC Cineplex could've enticed folks who are interested in seeing great films in a cinema environment without having to waltz through a food court to be seated in a 300 person auditorium. There is a market out there, Cineplex simply chose not to leverage it.

I say we start a campaign!

November 18, 2009 @ 9:44 AM

Neville A. Ross

Son of a bitch!!

I have memories of seeing Chaplin, Akira, Pollock, , Princess Monoke, The Big One,/i>, Night Zoo, Lumumba, and This Is Spinal Tap there-it may not have been a great looking movie house, but I saw some great movies there!

Now, every theater that I even went to is gone (the Uptown, York, University, Eglington, and now the Carlton!) I wonder if Rainbow Cinemas can come in and save it?

November 18, 2009 @ 10:11 AM


Maybe it'll be bought up by Rainbow Cinemas or Empire?

November 18, 2009 @ 10:56 AM


Empire Theatre is a chain based out of the Maritimes, and became the number two chain when they bought up a bunch of theatres (then) Cineplex Galaxy had to divest themselves of when they bought Famous Players.

Not sure how many are in Toronto, but there's one in Mississauga, called Studio 10.

The chains are basically the same, but the only difference is that Empire has better popcorn and, yeah - they're Canadian.

November 21, 2009 @ 8:31 AM


Everything that Wayward said is true. Cineplex didn't give a crap about the Carlton, and that's why it shut down. But have no fear, word on the street is that Rainbow is buying the space, despite the rumors that the landlord doesn't want to keep the space as a cinema. The reason the space is completely gutted out is because Cineplex knew that someone else would buy it and, fearing competition, wanted to make sure that the new buyers would fork up a buttload of cash. Cineplex is incredibly vindictive that way. Boycott them please, they are a terrible company (I know because I work for them, unfortunately). Nothing would be better than to see them go bankrupt-- again.

February 12, 2010 @ 9:56 AM

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