Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre – A National Historic Site

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1934 – Loew's Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, is located at 189 Yonge St. On the marquee, "Chained," starring Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Otto Kruger, was playing and released in 1934
1934 – Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, is located at 189 Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)

The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street and Winter Garden Theatre, is located at 189 Yonge St (north of Queen St on the east side) in the Downtown Yonge area of Toronto. The theatre has a rear entrance address of 158 Victoria St.

A Theatre on Top of a Theatre

Built between 1912/14, American theatre magnate Marcus Loew hired architects Thomas W Lamb and Stanley Makepeace to design the magnificent Edwardian-style double-decker theatres. It was the flagship site for the Canadian theatre chain and originally featured vaudeville acts and silent films. The lower theatre, known today as the Elgin, was called Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, while the upper is the Winter Garden Theatre.

Just outside the main Yonge St entrance, patrons would purchase their tickets from the wooden birdcage-style booth and enter the decorative long and narrow lobby. This led to a larger lobby and the theatres. From here, guests could stay on that floor to enter Loew’s Yonge Street theatre or take one of three hand-operated elevators or the Grand Stairway to the Winter Garden Theatre.

At the time, one of the most architecturally striking features of both theatres was the absence of columns obstructing views. The main columns supporting the balcony carry the heavy truss across the width of the auditorium, which in turn supports the cantilever trusses of the balcony.

Marcus Loew wanted to give patrons something they’d never seen before, plus he competed with other burlesque and vaudeville houses and theatres in the city.

2022 – The rich crimson and gold colour carpeting, seats, wall coverings and draperies of the Elgin Theatre
2022 – The rich crimson and gold colour carpeting, seats, wall coverings and draperies of the Elgin Theatre

Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre

On December 15, 1913, Lowe’s Yonge Street Theatre, today’s Elgin, opened with great fanfare. Tickets cost 10¢ and 25¢. The theatre is richly decorated in crimson and gold colours and originally seated 2,148 guests (today, there are 1,539 seats). The theatre also features a 10 m or 33 ft high proscenium arch over the stage. The opera boxes with bold ornamented plasterwork of lattice, fruit and masks. The elaborate domed ceiling hangs on cables from underneath the Winter Garden. A Toronto-made Warren organ played along to supplement the silent films, plus there was an orchestra pit.

The Winter Garden Theatre

On February 16, 1914, Loew’s opened the Winter Garden, a roof garden theatre decorated to resemble a garden in full bloom. Columns were masqueraded as tree trunks while the ceilings were hung with 5,000 real beech leaves along with branches and twinkling lanterns. The Winter Garden was more prestigious, and people paid 25¢ to 50¢ for a show. The theatre, where it’s always summer, originally sat 1,410 guests (today, it seats 982).

1940s – Looking northwest from Victoria St at the back of Loew's Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
1940s – Looking northwest from Victoria St at the back of Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)

Through the Years

When the popularity of vaudeville declined in 1928, Loew’s closed the Winter Garden. They kept the lower theatre open and wired it for sound to show talking movies. In 1930, the theatre switched to an all-movie format and completely dropped Vaudeville programming. It became an MGM movie palace showing the grand 1939 premieres of Gone with the Wind and The Wizard of Oz.

In the 1960s, Cinerama was going to be the next big thing, so the lower theatre was remodelled. The opera boxes were removed to accommodate the curved-style screen around the side walls, and the orchestra pit was filled with cement to hold the weight of the screen. However, Cinerama never gets fully installed, and it was a flop. In the upper Winter Garden Theatre, the original seats were sold off for $1 apiece.

In the early 1970s, the lower theatre was renamed the Yonge Street Theatre and showed B-movies and adult films. At the time, the theatre had gone downhill, and the area had changed.

The building received heritage status from the City of Toronto in 1973 and Ontario Heritage Trust in 1978. That same year, the theatre was renamed the Elgin. No one knows why it was named this, and there’s a thought that three of the five letters from the “YONGE” sign could be re-used for” ELGIN.”

By 1981, there were so many outstanding work permits on the building that they were going to close it down and demolish it. Fortunately, the Ontario Heritage Trust realized the historical significance of the double-decker theatre and rescued it. The purchase also included the world’s most extensive collection of vaudeville scenery. In 1982, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres, the last of their architectural style in the world, were designated a National Historic Site of Canada.

1985 - An aerial view of the Elgin Theatre, today's Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St. “Cats” began its two-run. Notice Diana Sweets next door
1985 – An aerial view of the Elgin Theatre, today’s Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St. “Cats” began its two-run (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 428, Item 27)

Cats the Musical

For the production of the musical Cats, a theatre was needed that could be painted black since it took place in a junkyard. What better place than the old, dilapidated Elgin Theatre? The theatre was brought up to safety code. In 1985, what was scheduled to be a 6-week run of the all-Canadian cast and crew of Cats began.

While the musical was going on in the lower theatre, the Ontario Heritage Trust began restoring the theatre above, the Winter Garden, which had been abandoned since 1928. It still had its original opera boxes, hardwood floors, and proscenium arch.

Cats was a huge hit. It ended up running for two years. More than 1 million people saw it and the box office pulled in over $40 million.

2022 - The Winter Garden Theatre auditorium has been decorated to resemble a garden in full bloom
2022 – The Winter Garden Theatre auditorium has been decorated to resemble a garden in full bloom

The $29-Million Restoration

The 2½-year full restoration process began in 1987. The theatres were brought back to life using old photos, samples and architectural drawings from when the L-shaped building was originally constructed.

In the Elgin Theatre, many pieces were recreated, including the opera boxes, the damask-patterned fabric wallpaper and the carpet was woven at a mill in Belgium.

In the Winter Garden Theatre, hundreds of pounds of raw bread dough were used to clean the hand-painted walls and opera boxes. The dough gently picked up dirt without wetting or removing any paint. Since the original seats had been sold off, the Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the seats the Chicago Biograph was selling (a theatre from the same era).

In the lobby, 25 layers of paint were removed. A basement was also added under the building to create a lounge and washrooms.

The theatre reopened on December 15, 1989, which was 76 years from the day it originally opened. Spanning over a century, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre is the world’s last operating double-decker theatre.

2022 – Historical theatre equipment on display backstage at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – Historical theatre equipment on display backstage at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre

Backstage

In the Winter Garden Theatre, the scenery is flown in from a fly gallery that works on a counterweight system with sandbags. It’s the last theatre in Toronto that is called a “Hemp House.” Hemp refers to the rope. While some lines to move the scenery are automated, people are still needed to manually move pipes. This is one of the reasons why the Winter Garden Theatre is a heritage conservation site because they are a “Hemp House.”

Also on display backstage at the Winter Garden are several original pieces of theatrical production equipment, including a large switchboard which controlled the stage lighting, a hemp rope rigging system, lighting, an old projector and much more.

Vaudeville Scenery Flats

One of the world’s largest collections of “stock” Vaudeville scenery, about 120 pieces, was found sitting in the Winter Garden, undisturbed for nearly 60 years. The sets would have been used as a backdrop for the Vaudeville performances and flown in using rigging in the fly tower. In the 1980s, the Cascading Lobbies were built on top of the theatre to display the restored flats, which include the “Butterfly” scenery and the “Scarab” scenery.

Did You Know?

  • Mr Lamb was one of the world’s leading “picture palace” designers of the last century and was also the architect of the Uptown Theatre and Madison Square Garden.
  • In the early 1910s, the building cost $490,000 to construct.
  • In May 1928, there was a fire in Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre. The pipe organ, orchestra instruments and the soundboard mural over the proscenium arch were destroyed.
  • On the building’s second level is the Palladian Lounge. It’s named after the style of the three arched heritage windows overlooking Yonge St.
  • The original birdcage ticket booth from Loew’s Yonge St Theatre is on display at Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre at 227 Front St E.
  • While the opera boxes are posh seats and considered the place to be seen, they do not have good sight lines. The best views are from the mezzanine.
2022 – A restored heritage cage elevator at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – A restored heritage cage elevator at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre

Haunted Tales

The historic venue is not only home to two theatres but also a few spirits. Its most famous ghost is The Lavender Lady. While no one knows who she is, there is speculation she could perhaps be a rival actress of a jealous castmate or a jilted wife whose husband fell in love with a Vaudeville showgirl. When she does make an appearance, those who have felt her presence notice a temperature drop and the fragrance of lavender flowers. The Lavender Lady is so famous that she was commemorated in 2016 on a Canada Post stamp.

Other haunted happenings include manually operated cage elevators operating on their own, hearing voices, theatre seats flipping down then back up and hearing a trombone or trumpet being played.

In 1984 during a rehearsal for Cats, some dancers noticed a man sitting in the second row. He wore old-fashioned attire – a brown suit and a brown bowler hat. They thought it could be a friend of the director or producer. After rehearsal, they asked the assistant manager who the man was but were told no one was there. You see, it was a closed rehearsal, and only the assistant and stage managers were allowed to watch. Click for more haunted tales.

Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre Photos

1934 - On the Loew's Yonge St Theatre marquee, "Treasure Island," starring Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper and Lionel Barrymore, was playing and released in 1934
1934 – On the Loew’s Yonge St Theatre marquee, “Treasure Island,” starring Wallace Beery, Jackie Cooper and Lionel Barrymore, was playing and released in 1934 (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
1935 - Looking northeast towards Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St. Notice the Palladian windows above the marquee on the second level. On the marquee, “David Copperfield,” by Charles Dickens, with Lionel Barrymore and WC Fields, was playing. Today the theatre is home to Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
1935 – Looking northeast towards Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St. Notice the Palladian windows above the marquee on the second level. On the marquee, “David Copperfield,” by Charles Dickens, with Lionel Barrymore and WC Fields, was playing. Today the theatre is home to Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 1098)
2022 - The Yonge St facade of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. Located just north of Queen St in Downtown Toronto, the double-decker theatres are a National Historic Site of Canada
2022 – The Yonge St facade of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. Located just north of Queen St in Downtown Toronto, the double-decker theatres are a National Historic Site of Canada
1913 – This is the only photo that shows the amber-coloured Tiffany-style chandelier that once hung in Loew's Yonge Street Theatre. Its thought that the chandelier was taken down in the 1930s so as not to be in the way of movies being projected
1913 – This is the only photo that shows the amber-coloured Tiffany-style chandelier that once hung in Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre. Its thought that the chandelier was taken down in the 1930s so as not to be in the way of movies being projected (Construction journal)
2022 – The dome of the Elgin Theatre features garlands, ribbons, and masks. The false ceiling hangs on cables from underneath the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – The dome of the Elgin Theatre features garlands, ribbons, and masks. The false ceiling hangs on cables from underneath the Winter Garden Theatre
1914 – Billboard ads for Loew's Yonge Street and Winter Garden Theatre and The Dominion Brewery Company Limited
1914 – Billboard ads for Loew’s Yonge Street and Winter Garden Theatre and The Dominion Brewery Company Limited (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 1312)
1920s – The Grand Stairway and concession stand at Loew's Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, located at 189 Yonge St
1920s – The Grand Stairway and concession stand at Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, located at 189 Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
1921 - Advertising for Mary Pickford in “Through the Back Door” at Loew's Yonge Street Theatre. There was also a theatre named after the Toronto-born actress, the Mary Pickford Theatre, once located on the northwest corner of Queen St W and Spadina Ave
1921 – Advertising for Mary Pickford in “Through the Back Door” at Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre. There was also a theatre named after the Toronto-born actress, the Mary Pickford Theatre, once located on the northwest corner of Queen St W and Spadina Ave (Toronto Public Library OHQ-EPHE-S-R-259)
1922 - A view of Loew's Yonge Street Theatre lobby taken from the Yonge St entrance
1922 – A view of Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre lobby taken from the Yonge St entrance (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
1922 - The decorative house curtain and stage of the Winter Garden Theatre
1922 – The decorative house curtain and stage of the Winter Garden Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
2022 – The mezzanine of the Winter Garden Theatre offers some of the best views of the house
2022 – The mezzanine of the Winter Garden Theatre offers some of the best views of the house
1929 - Streetcars and traffic on a busy Yonge St, north of Queen St. Notice Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre marquee on the right
1929 – Streetcars and traffic on a busy Yonge St, north of Queen St. Notice Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre marquee on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series71 Item 6564)
1934 – Loew's Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, is located at 189 Yonge St. On the marquee, "Chained," starring Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Otto Kruger, was playing and released in 1934
1934 – Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, is located at 189 Yonge St. On the marquee, “Chained,” starring Joan Crawford, Clark Gable and Otto Kruger, was playing and released in 1934 (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
1935 - Looking north on Yonge St from Queen St. Notice FW Woolworth Co in the foreground, on the left and Loew's Yonge Street Theatre in the distance, on the right
1935 – Looking north on Yonge St from Queen St. Notice FW Woolworth Co in the foreground, on the left and Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre in the distance, on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series71 Item 11702)
1935 – Looking north on Yonge St, north of Queen St, towards Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre. On the marquee, “David Copperfield,” by Charles Dickens, with Lionel Barrymore and WC Fields, was playing. Today the theatre is home to Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
1935 – Looking north on Yonge St, north of Queen St, towards Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre. On the marquee, “David Copperfield,” by Charles Dickens, with Lionel Barrymore and WC Fields, was playing. Today the theatre is home to Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 1097)
Date unknown – The lounge in the lobby at Loew's Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St. Notice the Palladian style mirrors that match the windows over the theatre's marquee
Date unknown – The lounge in the lobby at Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St. Notice the Palladian style mirrors that match the windows over the theatre’s marquee (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
Date unknown – A concession stand in the lobby at Loew's Yonge Street Theatre
Date unknown – A concession stand in the lobby at Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
1941 – The auditorium, opera boxes and stage from the mezzanine at Loew's Yonge Street Theatre, today is known as the Elgin Theatre. Architects Thomas W Lamb and Stanley Makepeace designed the magnificent theatre
1941 – The auditorium, opera boxes and stage from the mezzanine at Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today is known as the Elgin Theatre. Architects Thomas W Lamb and Stanley Makepeace designed the magnificent theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
2022 – A view of the stage from the Elgin Theatre mezzanine
2022 – A view of the stage from the Elgin Theatre mezzanine
1942 - On the Loew's Yonge Street Theatre marquee, "Her Cardboard Lover," starring Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor and George Sanders and "This Time for Keeps," starring Ann Rutherford, Robert Sterling and Guy Kibbee, were playing and both released in 1942
1942 – On the Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre marquee, “Her Cardboard Lover,” starring Norma Shearer, Robert Taylor and George Sanders and “This Time for Keeps,” starring Ann Rutherford, Robert Sterling and Guy Kibbee, were playing and both released in 1942 (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
2019 - The recreated exterior wooden birdcage ticket booth with a stained glass roof. Notice the reconstructed entrance doors with eight panes of bevelled glass, a wood frame, and stained glass transoms at the Yonge St entrance of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2019 – The recreated exterior wooden birdcage ticket booth with a stained glass roof. Notice the reconstructed entrance doors with eight panes of bevelled glass, a wood frame, and stained glass transoms at the Yonge St entrance of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
1945 - Yonge Street's neon signs at night. On Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre marquee, “Our Vines Have Tender Grapes,” starring Edward G Robinson and Margaret O'Brien, was playing. Today the theatre is home to Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
1945 – Yonge Street’s neon signs at night. On Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre marquee, “Our Vines Have Tender Grapes,” starring Edward G Robinson and Margaret O’Brien, was playing. Today the theatre is home to Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 1, ID 14)
1949 – The concession stand featuring candy, drinks, popcorn and ice cream in the lobby of Loew's Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St. On the poster next to the concession stand on the left, "The Stratton Story," starring James Stewart, June Allyson and Frank Morgan, was playing and released in 1949
1949 – The concession stand featuring candy, drinks, popcorn and ice cream in the lobby of Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St. On the poster next to the concession stand on the left, “The Stratton Story,” starring James Stewart, June Allyson and Frank Morgan, was playing and released in 1949 (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
1970s - Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today's Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St. On the marquee, “The Violent Professionals,” starring Luc Merenda and Richard Conte and “The Challenge,” starring Ezzedine Brika and Habib Chaari, were playing. Notice Marks & Spencer next door
1970s – Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today’s Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St. On the marquee, “The Violent Professionals,” starring Luc Merenda and Richard Conte and “The Challenge,” starring Ezzedine Brika and Habib Chaari, were playing. Notice Marks & Spencer next door (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 615, Item 26)
1985 - An aerial view of the Elgin Theatre at 189 Yonge St. “Cats” began its two-year run. The theatre's name was changed from Yonge to Elgin in the late 1970s. No one knows why it was renamed this; however, there’s a thought that three of the five letters from the “YONGE” sign could be re-used for ”ELGIN”
1985 – An aerial view of the Elgin Theatre at 189 Yonge St. “Cats” began its two-year run. The theatre’s name was changed from Yonge to Elgin in the late 1970s. No one knows why it was renamed this; however, there’s a thought that three of the five letters from the “YONGE” sign could be re-used for ”ELGIN” (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 428, Item 27)
1987 - Elgin Theatre, today's Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St. “Cats” was completing its two-year run at the theatre. Notice Diana Sweets next door
1987 – Elgin Theatre, today’s Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St. “Cats” was completing its two-year run at the theatre. Notice Diana Sweets next door (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 428, Item 23)
1988 - Elgin Theatre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St, closed for major restorations
1988 – Elgin Theatre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St, closed for major restorations (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 428, Item 46)
Late 1980s - The Elgin Theatre at 189 Yonge St during renovations. Today it's known as the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre and is a National Historic Site of Canada
Late 1980s – The Elgin Theatre at 189 Yonge St during renovations. Today it’s known as the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre and is a National Historic Site of Canada (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 3, ID 151)
1992 - A neighbouring building promoting "Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat" starring Donny Osmond at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
1992 – A neighbouring building promoting “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” starring Donny Osmond at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Mandel Sprachman Architect Fonds, Fonds 122, Series 881, File 63)
2020 - Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St. In the 1980s, the white stepped structure was added to the top of the building. Its home to the Cascading Lobbies and was built to display the restored Vaudeville scenery flats that were found in the once-abandoned Winter Garden Theatre
2020 – Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St. In the 1980s, the white stepped structure was added to the top of the building. Its home to the Cascading Lobbies and was built to display the restored Vaudeville scenery flats that were found in the once-abandoned Winter Garden Theatre
2020 - Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St E in Toronto. On the building’s second level is the Palladian Lounge. It’s named after the style of the three arched heritage windows above the marquee
2020 – Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, at 189 Yonge St, north of Queen St E in Toronto. On the building’s second level is the Palladian Lounge. It’s named after the style of the three arched heritage windows above the marquee
2021 - Looking up towards the Yonge St facade of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre during the pandemic
2021 – Looking up towards the Yonge St facade of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre during the pandemic
2021 – Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres sign was installed in 1995. It's reminiscent of the original 1913 sign and has 1,240 light bulbs
2021 – Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres sign was installed in 1995. It’s reminiscent of the original 1913 sign and has 1,240 light bulbs
2022 - Looking out from the third floor of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres overlooking Yonge St, towards the back of the theatre's sign
2022 – Looking out from the third floor of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres overlooking Yonge St towards the back of the theatre’s sign
2022 - The Yonge St entrance of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre
2022 – The Yonge St entrance of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre, originally Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre
2020 - The recreated exterior birdcage ticket booth at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. The original is on display at Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre at 227 Front St E
2020 – The recreated exterior birdcage ticket booth at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. The original is on display at Joey and Toby Tanenbaum Opera Centre at 227 Front St E
2019 - The beautiful recreated entrance doors and stained glass transoms at the Yonge St entrance of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2019 – The beautiful recreated entrance doors and stained glass transoms at the Yonge St entrance of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – The entrance to the Davies Takacs Lobby at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – The entrance to the Davies Takacs Lobby at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – The rich crimson and gold colour carpeting, seats, wall coverings and draperies of the Elgin Theatre
2022 – The rich crimson and gold colour carpeting, seats, wall coverings and draperies of the Elgin Theatre
2022 – The elaborately decorated opera boxes at the Elgin Theatre
2022 – The elaborately decorated opera boxes at the Elgin Theatre
2022 – The opera boxes in the Elgin Theatre feature bold ornamented plasterwork of lattice, fruit and masks. The opera boxes are recreations as the originals were removed in the 1960s to make way for a Cinerama-style screen
2022 – The opera boxes in the Elgin Theatre feature bold ornamented plasterwork of lattice, fruit and masks. The opera boxes are recreations as the originals were removed in the 1960s to make way for a Cinerama-style screen
2022 – Looking towards the rear of the Elgin Theatre auditorium
2022 – Looking towards the rear of the Elgin Theatre auditorium
2022 – Rows of crimson-coloured seats in the Elgin Theatre
2022 – Rows of crimson-coloured seats in the Elgin Theatre
2022 – A view of the posh opera boxes from the mezzanine of the Elgin Theatre. While the opera boxes are considered the place to be seen, they do not have good sight lines. The best views of the theatre are from the mezzanine
2022 – A view of the posh opera boxes from the mezzanine of the Elgin Theatre. While the opera boxes are considered the place to be seen, they do not have good sight lines. The best views of the theatre are from the mezzanine
2022 – A view of the main floor seating and opera boxes from an opera box at the Elgin Theatre
2022 – A view of the main floor seating and opera boxes from an opera box at the Elgin Theatre
2022 – The elevator doors for the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – The elevator doors for the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – One of three restored heritage cage elevators at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – One of three restored heritage cage elevators at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – The hand-operated heritage elevators at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre are made by the Otis Elevator Company
2022 – The hand-operated heritage elevators at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre are made by the Otis Elevator Company
2022 – One of three restored heritage cage elevators which take guests to and from the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – One of three restored heritage cage elevators which take guests to and from the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 - The seating and stage on the main floor of the Winter Garden Theatre auditorium
2022 – The seating and stage on the main floor of the Winter Garden Theatre auditorium
2022 - The green seating and hand-painted opera boxes in the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – The green seating and hand-painted opera boxes in the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 - In the Winter Garden Theatre, the columns are masqueraded as tree trunks and the ceilings are hung with beech leaves and lanterns
2022 – In the Winter Garden Theatre, the columns are masqueraded as tree trunks and the ceilings are hung with beech leaves and lanterns
2022 - Looking towards the rear of the Winter Garden Theatre auditorium. The 1930s seats are from Chicago's Biograph Theatre and were installed during the 1980s restoration
2022 – Looking towards the rear of the Winter Garden Theatre auditorium. The 1930s seats are from Chicago’s Biograph Theatre and were installed during the 1980s restoration
2022 - The ceiling of the Winter Garden Theatre has been adorned with lanterns, beech leaves and branches
2022 – The ceiling of the Winter Garden Theatre has been adorned with lanterns, beech leaves and branches
2022 - An opera box at the Winter Garden Theatre. During the restoration in the 1980s, raw bread dough was used to gently clean the hand-painted walls and opera boxes
2022 – An opera box at the Winter Garden Theatre. During the restoration in the 1980s, raw bread dough was used to gently clean the hand-painted walls and opera boxes
2022 - The Winter Garden Theatre auditorium has been decorated to resemble a garden in full bloom
2022 – The Winter Garden Theatre auditorium has been decorated to resemble a garden in full bloom
2022 – A view of the stage and opera boxes from the mezzanine at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – A view of the stage and opera boxes from the mezzanine at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – A view of the stage and beautiful house curtain from the mezzanine of the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – A view of the stage and beautiful house curtain from the mezzanine of the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – The opera boxes at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – The opera boxes at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – The proscenium arch in the Winter Garden Theatre is formed by two huge trees whose branches spread out across the top
2022 – The proscenium arch in the Winter Garden Theatre is formed by two huge trees whose branches spread out across the top
2022 – A view from the mezzanine at the Winter Garden Theatre. The sounding board mural is a scene of blue sky and white clouds with mountains in the foreground
2022 – A view from the mezzanine at the Winter Garden Theatre. The sounding board mural is a scene of blue sky and white clouds with mountains in the foreground
2022 - A view of the main floor of the Winter Garden Theatre auditorium. When the theatres were built in the early 1910s, one of the most architecturally striking features was the absence of columns obstructing views. The main columns supporting the balcony carry the heavy truss across the width of the auditorium, which in turn supports the cantilever trusses of the balcony
2022 – A view of the main floor of the Winter Garden Theatre auditorium. When the theatres were built in the early 1910s, one of the most architecturally striking features was the absence of columns obstructing views. The main columns supporting the balcony carry the heavy truss across the width of the auditorium, which in turn supports the cantilever trusses of the balcony
2022 - Hand-painted murals decorate the walls of the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Hand-painted murals decorate the walls of the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 - Flowers and a rock wall mural decorating the staircase in the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Flowers and a rock wall mural decorating the staircase in the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre. The scenery is flown in from a fly gallery that works on a counterweight system with sandbags. The Winter Garden is the last theatre in Toronto called a “Hemp House.” Hemp refers to the rope
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre. The scenery is flown in from a fly gallery that works on a counterweight system with sandbags. The Winter Garden is the last theatre in Toronto called a “Hemp House.” Hemp refers to the rope
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre. Some of the lines to move the scenery are automated; however, people are still needed to manually move pipes
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre. Some of the lines to move the scenery are automated; however, people are still needed to manually move pipes
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – This dressing room has been decorated to look like it would have in 1914. There were originally 23 dressing rooms located on the 7th storey and were accessible to both theatres through an iron staircase. There was no number "1" or "star" dressing room. Performers shared facilities with two or three to a dressing room. It was also sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter
2022 – This dressing room has been decorated to look like it would have in 1914. There were originally 23 dressing rooms located on the 7th storey and were accessible to both theatres through an iron staircase. There was no number “1” or “star” dressing room. Performers shared facilities with two or three to a dressing room. It was also sweltering in the summer and freezing in the winter
2022 – A recreated 1914 dressing room at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. Each dressing room had a sink, toilet, counter, lighted mirrors, coat hooks, gas fixture and mantle. Gas was used to heat the grease paint and may have also served as supplementary lighting for the performers
2022 – A recreated 1914 dressing room at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. Each dressing room had a sink, toilet, counter, lighted mirrors, coat hooks, gas fixture and mantle. Gas was used to heat the grease paint and may have also served as supplementary lighting for the performers
2022 – This large switchboard was used to control the stage lighting. It's on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre, along with several original pieces of theatrical production equipment
2022 – This large switchboard was used to control the stage lighting. It’s on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre, along with several original pieces of theatrical production equipment
2022 – A hemp rope rigging system plus other historical theatrical production equipment is on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – A hemp rope rigging system plus other historical theatrical production equipment is on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – A vintage, American-made Simplex silent movie projector on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – A vintage, American-made Simplex silent movie projector on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Historical theatrical production equipment on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Historical theatrical production equipment on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – Several pieces of historical, behind-the-scenes equipment once used at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre are on display backstage
2022 – Several pieces of historical, behind-the-scenes equipment once used at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre are on display backstage
2022 – Vintage equipment once used for productions at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre on display backstage
2022 – Vintage equipment once used for productions at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre on display backstage
2022 – A vintage light, along with several pieces of behind-the-scenes equipment, is on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 – A vintage light, along with several pieces of behind-the-scenes equipment, is on display backstage at the Winter Garden Theatre
2022 - The Grand Stairway leads to the Winter Garden Theatre, while the other staircase leads to the Cascading Lobbies
2022 – The Grand Stairway leads to the Winter Garden Theatre, while the other staircase leads to the Cascading Lobbies
2022 - Funds to restore the heritage telephones at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre were donated by architect Mandel Sprachman
2022 – Funds to restore the heritage telephones at the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre were donated by architect Mandel Sprachman
2022 - "Stock" vaudeville scenery on display in the Cascading Lobbies at Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. The upper one is the "Butterfly" scenery, and the lower one is the "Scarab" scenery. About 120 pieces were found sitting in the Winter Garden Theatre, undisturbed for nearly 60 years. The sets would have been used as a backdrop for the Vaudeville performances
2022 – “Stock” vaudeville scenery on display in the Cascading Lobbies at Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. The upper one is the “Butterfly” scenery, and the lower one is the “Scarab” scenery. About 120 pieces were found sitting in the Winter Garden Theatre, undisturbed for nearly 60 years. The sets would have been used as a backdrop for the Vaudeville performances
2022 - A model of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre created by Steve Hoffmann and Associates
2022 – A model of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre created by Steve Hoffmann and Associates
2022 - A plaque featuring Marcus Loew (1870-1927), founder of Loew Theatres, which included the Uptown Theatre and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – A plaque featuring Marcus Loew (1870-1927), founder of Loew Theatres, which included the Uptown Theatre and the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – Cast of an amateur show staged by the Herzl Club in 1924
2022 – Cast of an amateur show staged by the Herzl Club in 1924
1940s – Looking northwest from Victoria St at the back of Loew's Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
1940s – Looking northwest from Victoria St at the back of Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre, today the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 100)
Between 1980 to 1991 – Looking northwest from Queen St E and Victoria St at the back of the theatres
Between 1980 to 1991 – Looking northwest from Queen St E and Victoria St at the back of the theatres (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 428, Item 9)
2021 – Looking northwest from Victoria St, just north of Queen St E, towards the back of Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. Notice the "Loews" ghost sign near the top of the building
2021 – Looking northwest from Victoria St, just north of Queen St E, towards the back of Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre. Notice the “Loews” ghost sign near the top of the building
2022 – Looking northwest from Queen St E and Victoria St at the back of Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2022 – Looking northwest from Queen St E and Victoria St at the back of Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre
2021 – Looking west at the back of Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 158 Victoria St
2021 – Looking west at the back of Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre at 158 Victoria St
2021 - Looking towards the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre stage door entrance at 158 Victoria St
2021 – Looking towards the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre stage door entrance at 158 Victoria St
2022 - The stage door of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre located at 158 Victoria St
2022 – The stage door of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre located at 158 Victoria St
2022 - Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre stage door plaque at 158 Victoria St
2022 – Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre stage door plaque at 158 Victoria St
2022 - Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Center plaque
2022 – Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Center plaque
2022 - A plaque listing supporters of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre restoration
2022 – A plaque listing supporters of the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre restoration
1914 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Loew's Yonge Street Theatre
1914 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre (Toronto Public Library)
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