The Island Theatre was once located at 4 Iroquois Ave (west of Manitou Rd) on Centre Island in Toronto. In present-day terms, the theatre would have been situated just west of Avenue of the Island, by the bridge over Long Pond, on the pond’s south side.
Opening in 1950, the modern style, grey-stone theatre had a total of 705 seats and a balcony with only three rows of seating.
Initially, the Islanders were concerned that the theatre would make children want to stay indoors and not take advantage of outdoor life on the Island. That changed once the theatre opened. Parents would drop off their children at the theatre on Saturday afternoons while they went to enjoy the shops and restaurants on Manitou Rd.
From 1951 until 1956, the Island Theatre’s manager was Grenville “Hobby” Hobson. During the floods in the spring of 1952, he hired Durnan’s Water Taxi to go around and pick up the Islanders who wanted to go to the movies, later dropping them off. Hobby also paid close attention to the movies his patrons enjoyed – on Saturdays, kids liked Westerns while adults enjoyed films like Laughter in Paradise, Last Holiday and High Noon.
In June 1956, the Island Theatre closed. The building was later demolished to make way for the redevelopment of Toronto Island into parkland.
Island Theatre Photos
- The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Aug 23, 1952, pg 8
- Vintage Photos: City of Toronto Archives