Metro Theatre was once located at 677 Bloor St W (between Manning Ave and Clinton St on the south side) in Toronto’s Koreatown neighbourhood.
Built in 1938, architects Kaplan & Sprachman designed the 700-seat, Art Deco-style theatre for Manny Stein. When it opened in the spring of the following year, the Metro was a glamourous one-screen movie house. One of the first movies it played was Delinquent Parents.
By the late-1960s, the Toronto Yellow Pages show the theatre was renamed Metro Olympia and later in the decade to Metro Acropolis Theatre.
In 1979, the 5,450 square-foot theatre was sold. It reverted to its original name and began showing adult entertainment and films.
It was rumoured that Al Pacino sat in one of the theatre’s seats for a scene in the 1989 film Sea of Love. The movie also featured Metro Theatre’s “XXX” marquee.
When the Eden (today’s Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema) closed in the late 1970s and the Eve (once the Alhambra) closed in the mid-1980s, the Metro was Toronto’s last adult big-screen cinema. Eventually, the theatre had three cinemas inside, including the Metro, Riviera and Emanuelle. In the 1990s, the space was also used to show kung fu classic films.
While the theatre had been on the real estate market for several years, in 2012, Metro’s owners gave it a makeover. The pink, red and teal interior got a fresh coat of paint, and the white crown moulding, stucco ceiling, gold sailboat and Grecian-style wall art were left as is.
In 2013, Metro Theatre closed when it was sold for $2.9 million. The former theatre was transformed into climbing walls, and today, it’s home to Basecamp Climbing Bloor West.
Metro Theatre Photos
The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Apr 8, 1939, pg 4
The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Mar 18, 2006, pg M5
Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Dec 30, 2011, pg GT3
Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Aug 4, 2012, pg E7
Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Mar 9, 2015, pg GT4