The former Berkeley Street Fire Hall No. 4, now the Alumnae Theatre Company, is located at 70 Berkeley St (at Adelaide St E on the southwest corner) in the St Lawrence neighbourhood of Toronto.
The Berkeley Street Fire Hall
Built in 1905, the Edwardian Classical style firehouse replaced the previous hall on the site. Designed by architect Alexander Frank Wickson, the brick and stone building has many beautiful details. On the east-facing front, above the two former fire truck entrance doors, is a grand arched window that features stone and brick patterning. The tower, which was initially taller, was used to hang the fire hoses to dry. A few other interesting elements of the landmark building include arched gables, a bay window, and flathead windows with stone sills and lintels plus, in the tower, there are small round windows.
Adventurous Theatre by the Alumnae Theatre Company
The Alumnae Theatre Company was founded in 1918 by a group of women graduates from the University of Toronto. While they’ve performed on various stages in the City throughout the years, including the Hart House Theatre, they found their permanent home in 1972 at the old fire hall. That same year, the hall was restored and converted into a theatre. The redesign was created by notable architect Ron Thom, whose wife Molly was a long-time member of The Alum.
The handsome building, which received heritage status in 1973, has two theatres – the fully-equipped Mainstage theatre and the more intimate, Studio theatre. There’s also rehearsal space, a large wardrobe department, a workshop, a lobby and a backstage area. And did we mention there’s a friendly ghost?!
“We seek to be reflective of the diversity of Toronto on our stage and in our organization”
With the exception of some male actors, the Alumnae Theatre Company is operated entirely by women – from the writing, acting and directing to the management, artistic programming and administration. Over a century old, it’s the longest-running theatre company in North America operated by women. Across from the theatre are the historic 55-79 Berkeley Street Row Houses on the east side of the street.