Imperial Six Theatre – One of the World’s First Multiplex Theatres

1972 – 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. On the marquee, "The Godfather," starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan, was playing and released in 1992
August 1972 – 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 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 3, ID 3)

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 1919/20, 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 is a stunning colonnaded lobby and foyer, along with a magnificent domed auditorium which had seating for 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

June 25, 1973 - The Imperial Six, located at 263 Yonge St, during the theatre's open house to see Canada's largest Theatre Complex
June 25, 1973 – The Imperial Six, located at 263 Yonge St, during the theatre’s open house to see Canada’s largest Theatre Complex (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, Series 841, File 44, Item 1)

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 there for ten years and had over 4,200 performances.

Ed Mirvish Theatre

2022 - Looking northeast towards the Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"
2022 – Looking northeast towards the Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”

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. Key Brand Entertainment Ltd bought Clear Channel out, 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.

Imperial Six Theatre Photos

August 1972 – 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. On the marquee, "The Godfather," starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan, was playing and released in 1992
August 1972 – 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. On the marquee, “The Godfather,” starring Marlon Brando, Al Pacino and James Caan, was playing and released in 1992 (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 124, File 3, ID 3)
2022 - Looking northeast towards the Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child"
2022 – Looking northeast towards the Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child”
June 25, 1973 - The Imperial Six, located at 263 Yonge St, during the theatre's open house to see Canada's largest Theatre Complex
June 25, 1973 – The Imperial Six, located at 263 Yonge St, during the theatre’s open house to see Canada’s largest Theatre Complex (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, Series 841, File 44, Item 1)
May 19, 1977 - The Imperial Six Theatre from Victoria St
May 19, 1977 – The Imperial Six Theatre from Victoria St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 44, Item 5)
May 11, 1977 – Looking southeast along Yonge St, south of Dundas St towards the Nickelodeon on the left foreground and six buildings down the Imperial Six Theatre
May 11, 1977 – Looking southeast along Yonge St, south of Dundas St towards the Nickelodeon on the left foreground and six buildings down the Imperial Six Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 4, Item 9)
1973 - The interior of the Imperial Six Theatre after renovations
1973 – The interior of the Imperial Six Theatre after renovations (Mandel Sprachman Architect Fonds, photo taken at City of Toronto Archives, Series 881, Item 377)
November 22, 1973 - The Imperial Six Theatre on Yonge St
November 22, 1973 – The Imperial Six Theatre on Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 4, Item 4)
May 19, 1977 - Looking north on Victoria St towards the rear of the Imperial Six Theatre and Dundas St E
May 19, 1977 – Looking north on Victoria St towards the rear of the Imperial Six Theatre and Dundas St E (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1526, File 44, Item 4)
Between 1970 and 1972 – Looking north up Yonge St from Louisa St (when the two intersected) towards the Imperial Theatre on the right and Downtown Theatre in the background
Between 1970 and 1972 – Looking north up Yonge St from Louisa St (when the two intersected) towards the Imperial Theatre on the right and Downtown Theatre in the background (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 312, Item 81)
1930 - The lobby at the Imperial Theatre
1930 – The lobby at the Imperial Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 7)
Between 1970 and 1972 - Looking south on Yonge St from Teraulay St (when the two intersected) towards the Imperial Theatre on the right
Between 1970 and 1972 – Looking south on Yonge St from Teraulay St (when the two intersected) towards the Imperial Theatre on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 312, Item 53)
1952 – Looking southeast toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 263 Yonge St, located in Toronto's Garden District. On the marquee, "My Favorite Spy," starring Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr and Francis L Sullivan, was playing and released in 1951
1952 – Looking southeast toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 263 Yonge St, located in Toronto’s Garden District. On the marquee, “My Favorite Spy,” starring Bob Hope, Hedy Lamarr and Francis L Sullivan, was playing and released in 1951 (CU110868712, by Panda Associates, Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary)
Date unknown – The concession stand in the lobby at the Imperial Theatre
Date unknown – The concession stand in the lobby at the Imperial Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 8)
Circa 1950 – The Yonge St entrance and ticket booth to the Imperial Theatre
Circa 1950 – The Yonge St entrance and ticket booth to the Imperial Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Eric Hounsom Series 11343, File 129)
1952 – Looking southwest toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto's Garden District
1952 – Looking southwest toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto’s Garden District (CU110867860, by Panda Associates, Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary)
2023 – Ed Mirvish Theatre on the right side at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto's Garden District
2023 – Ed Mirvish Theatre on the right side at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto’s Garden District
1972 - Looking southwest down Victoria St from Dundas St E. The Imperial Theatre is halfway down the street on the right
1972 – Looking southwest down Victoria St from Dundas St E. The Imperial Theatre is halfway down the street on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 73, Item 3)
June 20, 1950 - Subway excavation in front of the Imperial Theatre on Yonge St, looking southeast. On the marquee, " The Eagle and the Hawk," starring John Payne, Rhonda Fleming and Dennis O'Keefe, was playing
June 20, 1950 – Subway excavation in front of the Imperial Theatre on Yonge St, looking southeast. On the marquee, ” The Eagle and the Hawk,” starring John Payne, Rhonda Fleming and Dennis O’Keefe, was playing (Brigdens Limited Photography & City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, File 28, ID 49499)
June 12, 1950 - Looking north up Yonge St between Shuter St and Dundas St. Notice the Imperial Theatre halfway up and the Downtown Theatre in the background
June 12, 1950 – Looking north up Yonge St between Shuter St and Dundas St. Notice the Imperial Theatre halfway up and the Downtown Theatre in the background (Brigdens Limited Photography & City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, File 28, ID 49495)
1950's – Looking north towards the  Imperial Theatre and Downtown Theatre on Yonge St
1950’s – Looking north towards the Imperial Theatre and Downtown Theatre on Yonge St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1257, Series 1057, Item 8939)
June 26, 1950 - Looking north up Yonge St between Shuter St and Dundas St. Notice the Imperial Theatre and the Downtown Theatre on the right
June 26, 1950 – Looking north up Yonge St between Shuter St and Dundas St. Notice the Imperial Theatre and the Downtown Theatre on the right (Brigdens Limited Photography & City of Toronto Archives, Series 574, File 29, ID 49501)
Between 1929 and 1930 - A night photo looking north on Yonge St from north of Shuter St
Between 1929 and 1930 – A night photo looking north on Yonge St from north of Shuter St (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 3742)
December 21, 1935 - Looking south on Yonge St from south of Dundas St on a Saturday afternoon. Notice the Imperial Theatre on the left
December 21, 1935 – Looking south on Yonge St from south of Dundas St on a Saturday afternoon. Notice the Imperial Theatre on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 11708)
Between 1986 and 1994 - Looking south on Yonge St from south of Dundas Sq. Notice the Pantages Theatre on the left
Between 1986 and 1994 – Looking south on Yonge St from south of Dundas Sq. Notice the Pantages Theatre on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 439, Item 44)
November 19, 1919 – An aerial view looking northwest towards the construction of the Pantages Theatre
November 19, 1919 – An aerial view looking northwest towards the construction of the Pantages Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 7)
1920s – Looking southwest towards the Pantages Theatre, later the Imperial Theatre
1920s – Looking southwest towards the Pantages Theatre, later the Imperial Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 7)
1920s – The auditorium and balcony at the Pantages Theatre
1920s – The auditorium and balcony at the Pantages Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 7)
1920s – The auditorium and opera boxes at the Pantages Theatre
1920s – The auditorium and opera boxes at the Pantages Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 7)
Between 1929 and 1930 - Looking south on Victoria St from Dundas St E. The Pantages Theatre is on the right
Between 1929 and 1930 – Looking south on Victoria St from Dundas St E. The Pantages Theatre is on the right (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 3499)
1926 – Written on the photo "All English Bill Pantages Theatre Toronto - Week of Aug 21st 1926"
1926 – Written on the photo “All English Bill Pantages Theatre Toronto – Week of Aug 21st 1926” (Archives of Ontario I0031007)
Between 1920 and 1924 - A billboard advertising "In the Shadows of Whitechapel" playing at the Pantages Theatre
Between 1920 and 1924 – A billboard advertising “In the Shadows of Whitechapel” playing at the Pantages Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 1980)
November 9, 1929 - Looking south on Yonge St from Wilton Sq (today Dundas Sq) on a Saturday afternoon. Notice the Pantages Theatre on the left
November 9, 1929 – Looking south on Yonge St from Wilton Sq (today Dundas Sq) on a Saturday afternoon. Notice the Pantages Theatre on the left (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 16, Series 71, Item 7435)
2009 – Canon Theatre advertising the production of "Billy Elliot the Musical"
2009 – Canon Theatre advertising the production of “Billy Elliot the Musical” (Google Maps)
2020 - The Ed Mirvish Theatre entrance and advertising for the production of "Anastasia"
2020 – The Ed Mirvish Theatre entrance and advertising for the production of “Anastasia”
2020 - The Ed Mirvish Theatre sign advertising the production of "Hamilton"
2020 – The Ed Mirvish Theatre sign advertising the production of “Hamilton”
Circa 1961 – Looking southeast towards the Yonge St entrance to the Imperial Theatre, later the Imperial Six Theatre. On the marquee, "A Majority of One," starring Rosalind Russell, Alec Guinness and Ray Danton, was playing and released in 1961
Circa 1961 – Looking southeast towards the Yonge St entrance to the Imperial Theatre, later the Imperial Six Theatre. On the marquee, “A Majority of One,” starring Rosalind Russell, Alec Guinness and Ray Danton, was playing and released in 1961 (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 8)
2020 - The Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of "Hamilton"
2020 – The Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of “Hamilton”
2021 – The Victoria St entrance to the Ed Mirvish Theatre
2021 – The Victoria St entrance to the Ed Mirvish Theatre
Circa 1932 - Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre. On the marquee, "Horse Feathers," starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, was playing and released in 1932
Circa 1932 – Looking northwest from Yonge St towards the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre. On the marquee, “Horse Feathers,” starring Groucho Marx, Chico Marx and Harpo Marx, was playing and released in 1932 (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 87)
2020 - The Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of "Hamilton"
2020 – The Ed Mirvish Theatre advertising the production of “Hamilton”
2022 - Advertising the production of "Harry Potter and the Cursed Child" at Ed Mirvish Theatre
2022 – Advertising the production of “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” at Ed Mirvish Theatre
1947 – The Victoria St entrance to the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre
1947 – The Victoria St entrance to the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 7)
2022 - Looking north on Victoria St towards the rear of Ed Mirvish Theatre, once known as the Imperial Six Theatre
2022 – Looking north on Victoria St towards the rear of Ed Mirvish Theatre, once known as the Imperial Six Theatre
1930 – Looking northwest from Victoria St towards the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre
1930 – Looking northwest from Victoria St towards the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 87)
2023 – Looking southwest toward Ed Mirvish Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto's Garden District. The Imperial Six Theatre once occupied the building
2023 – Looking southwest toward Ed Mirvish Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto’s Garden District. The Imperial Six Theatre once occupied the building
1952 – Looking southwest toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto's Garden District
1952 – Looking southwest toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto’s Garden District (CU110867856, by Panda Associates, Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary)
1952 – Looking northwest toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto's Garden District
1952 – Looking northwest toward the Imperial Theatre, originally Pantages Theatre at 244 Victoria St, located in Toronto’s Garden District (CU110867119, by Panda Associates, Courtesy of Libraries and Cultural Resources Digital Collections, University of Calgary)
2022 - Phantom of the Opera ghost sign "Celebrating its tenth phantastic year!" on the southeast side of the Ed Mirvish Theatre building
2022 – Phantom of the Opera ghost sign “Celebrating its tenth phantastic year!” on the southeast side of the Ed Mirvish Theatre building
1989 – The Toronto Yellow Pages showing an ad for The Phantom of the Opera at Pantages Theatre
1989 – The Toronto Yellow Pages showing an ad for The Phantom of the Opera at Pantages Theatre (Toronto Public Library)
2021 - Exterior architectural details on the Ed Mirvish Theatre, originally the Pantages Theatre and later the Imperial Six Theatre, at 263 Yonge St
2021 – Exterior architectural details on the Ed Mirvish Theatre, originally the Pantages Theatre and later the Imperial Six Theatre, at 263 Yonge St
2021 – Heritage Toronto plaque crediting architect Thomas W. Lamb for the Pantages Theatre, dated 1920
2021 – Heritage Toronto plaque crediting architect Thomas W. Lamb for the Pantages Theatre, dated 1920
1921 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Pantages Theatre
1921 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address of the Pantages Theatre (Toronto Public Library)
1949 - The Toronto City Directory showing the address, manager and phone number of the Imperial Theatre
1949 – The Toronto City Directory showing the address, manager and phone number of the Imperial Theatre (Toronto Public Library)
1975 – The Toronto Yellow Pages showing the address and phone number of the Imperial Six Theatre
1975 – The Toronto Yellow Pages showing the address and phone number of the Imperial Six Theatre (Toronto Public Library)
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