Island Theatre – Once on Centre Island 

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

Early 1950s - The Island Theatre was once located at 4 Iroquois Ave on Centre Island. On the sign, "All About Eve," starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter and George Sanders, was playing and released in 1950
Early 1950s – The Island Theatre was once located at 4 Iroquois Ave on Centre Island. On the sign, “All About Eve,” starring Bette Davis, Anne Baxter and George Sanders, was playing and released in 1950 (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 90)
1950s – An aerial view of Manitou Rd on Centre Island, looking southwest. The Island Theatre was once located at 4 Iroquois Ave. Today Manitou Rd is known as Avenue of the Island
1950s – An aerial view of Manitou Rd on Centre Island, looking southwest. The Island Theatre was once located at 4 Iroquois Ave. Today Manitou Rd is known as Avenue of the Island (City of Toronto Archives, Series 316, File 5)
1950s – The auditorium and balcony at the Island Theatre. Notice the balcony only has three rows of seating
1950s – The auditorium and balcony at the Island Theatre. Notice the balcony only has three rows of seating (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 90)
1950s – The auditorium and screen at the Island Theatre
1950s – The auditorium and screen at the Island Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 90)
1950s - The concession stand in the lobby at the Island Theatre
1950s – The concession stand in the lobby at the Island Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 90)
1956 - A letter advising the closing of the Island Theatre
1956 – A letter advising the closing of the Island Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Ken Webster Fonds, Fonds 251, Series 1278, File 90)

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