Right 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.