The Imperial Six Theatre, now the Ed Mirvish Theatre, is located at 263 Yonge St and 244 Victoria St (south of Dundas St E) in downtown Toronto.
Originally the Pantages Theatre
Built in 1920, the theatre opened as the Pantages. It was one of Canada’s last combination vaudeville/movie-house theatres. The grand theatre was part of the Pantages chain that operated more than 120 theatres throughout North America. While Alexander Pantages operated it, it was owned by Famous Players.
The magnificent gem was designed by renowned architect Thomas W Lamb and lavishly decorated in elegant Adam Revival style. Inside there’s a stunning colonnaded lobby and foyer, along with a magnificent domed auditorium that seated over 3,600 guests.
In 1929, the Pantages theatre chain collapsed. It was taken over completely by Famous Players, who renamed it Imperial Theatre and began only showing movies one year later.
Sprachman Renovation & The Imperial Six
In 1972, the theatre underwent a renovation by Mandel Sprachman as the architect. He skillfully modified the theatre to retain much of the interior while dividing it into six auditoriums. In 1973, it was renamed Imperial Six Theatre. The building received heritage status in 1979.
The Phantom of the Opera
Famous Players lost the building to Cineplex Odeon in 1986. Cineplex (Livent) restored the lobby to its original design, rebuilt it into a live theatre and renamed it The Pantages. In 1989, the theatre reopened with a production of “The Phantom of the Opera.” It ran at the theatre for ten years and had over 4,200 performances.
Ed Mirvish Theatre
In 1999, the theatre was purchased by Clear Channel. In 2001 was renamed Canon Theatre because of the support pledge from Canon. They leased the theatre to Mirvish Productions, who also managed it. Clear Channel was bought out by Key Brand Entertainment Ltd, and in 2008, Mirvish Productions purchased the theatre.
In 2011, after the Canon partnership ended, David Mirvish renamed the landmark the Ed Mirvish Theatre in honour of his father.