|Performing Arts Venue |||Theatre|
|Payment |||Interac, MasterCard, American Express, Visa|
|Getting There |||Dundas Subway Station|
|Cross Street |||Yonge & Dundas|
|According to Schedule - Check Listings|
Profile Last Updated: January 12, 2009
Before dollar stores and pleasure palaces transformed the downtown end of Yonge Street into a strip reminiscent of New York’s Times Square, this area of Yonge was a proud strip of entertainment. After all, it did house the Pantages, Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres and Massey Hall.
The Golden Era
The Canon Theatre, occupying the space between Yonge and Victoria and south of Dundas, has gone through many changes in its storied history. Originally a vaudeville house and motion picture cinema of the Famous Players chain – a distribution arm of Paramount Pictures – the Pantages Theatre had a staggering 3,373 seats and a lavish interior. Named for the founder of the vaudeville circuit that ended up playing there, Alexander Pantages, the theatre fell entirely into the hands of Famous Players after the vaudeville chain’s collapse.
The Original Multiplex
After being renamed the Imperial, the hall continued to show movies until it was subdivided into a series of six smaller screening rooms, thus becoming one of the first multiplexes in Canada. After some more legal wrangling in the mid-1980s hands changed yet again to Cineplex. First Cineplex changed the theatre’s name back to its original Pantages. They then gutted the interior and converted the space into an opulent, legitimate theatre, where a splinter company staged the impossibly successful Canadian premiere of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical “The Phantom of the Opera”.
What’ll It Be Called Next?
Its latest incarnation as the Canon Theatre – named for the camera company who stepped in around the year 2000 to pledge financing for its continued upkeep – has seen minor renovations, as well as an operations agreement between its current owner, Clear Channel Entertainment, and Toronto’s premier producers of live theatre events, Mirvish Productions. Recently, the theatre has been used to present many of Mirvish’s large-scale musicals, including the appropriately vaudevillian Canadian premiere of Mel Brooks’ hit musical “The Producers”.