Empire Theatre, originally Imperial Vaudeville, was once located at 408 Queen St E (at Tracy St, east of Parliament St on the north side) in Toronto’s Trefann Court/Corktown neighbourhood.
The Imperial Vaudeville opened in the mid-1910s. The theatre had a few name changes during its time, including the Paulton for a few years in the mid-1920s, the Rialto until the mid-1940s and the Empire until it closed in the early-1960s.
The building that housed the theatre was constructed in 1914. The Archdiocese of Toronto hired architect CJ Reid to design the building, which also contained St Paul’s Parish Hall and commercial space – the theatre at 408, St Paul’s Parish Hall at 412 and retail space at 414-416 Queen St E. The building received heritage status from the City of Toronto in 2020.
Today, the building is home to Good Shepherd Ministries’ homeless shelter.
Imperial Vaudeville & Empire Theatre Photos
- City of Toronto Heritage Register: 412 Queen St E
- City of Toronto: Inclusion on the City of Toronto’s Heritage Register – King-Parliament Area Properties, Nov 9, 2020
- Taylor On History: Empire Theatre
- Photos: Denise Marie for TorontoJourney416
- Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives
- Toronto City Directory 1916, 1924, 1926 & 1945 courtesy of Toronto Public Library