Odeon Humber Theatre, later the Humber Cinema, was once located at 2442 Bloor St W (just west of Jane St on the north side) in the Lambton Baby Point/Bloor West Village neighbourhoods of Toronto.
Built in 1948, the Odeon Humber Theatre was designed by Jay Isadore English, the Chief Architect for the Odeon Theatre chain in Canada. After his sudden passing, the project was completed by his successor, Leslie Haggar Kemp.
Advertised as “tops in design, beauty, comfort, safety, service and entertainment,” the single-screen theatre had 1,200 seats and a balcony. It opened on January 27, 1949, and the first attraction was “Blanche Fury,” starring Stewart Granger, Valerie Hobson and Walter Fitzgerald. The price of admission for a matinee was 36¢, and for evening shows was 50¢. For an extra fee, there was an isolated seating area (known as “loges”) for smoking.
The Humber was one of five theatres that were part of the Odeon chain, owned by J Arthur Rank. The other four included the Carlton, Danforth, Fairlawn and the Hyland.
In 1975, the theatre was divided into two auditoriums and later became part of the Cineplex Odeon chain. In the late 1990s, the company spent $400,000 on a significant overhaul to the Humber Theatre, adding larger seats, new carpeting, digital sound, a new concession stand and more. However, in 2003, just a few years after the renovations, Odeon closed the theatre. The seats and screens were removed, and the theatre sat empty for nearly a decade.
Rui Pereira and his business partner Ivan Martinovic, both architects-by-trade and operators of the Kingsway Theatre, leased the Humber theatre. The pair worked to restore the Bloor West Village movie palace just as they did with the Kingsway. In April 2011, the theatre reopened as the Humber Cinema with a screening of the “Fast Five,” starring Vin Diesel and Paul Walker. Initially, the Humber was relaunched with only the smaller upstairs 300-seat auditorium. The 500-seat downstairs auditorium and the two smaller screening spaces were later opened.
The Humber Cinema closed on May 30, 2019. One of the last movies shown was “Avengers: Endgame,” starring Robert Downey Jr, Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.
In 2021, the theatre was demolished to make way for the 12-storey luxury condo development, the Bijou on Bloor.
Odeon Humber Theatre Photos
The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Jan 27, 1949, pg 17
The National Post Newspaper Archives: Mar 4, 1999, pg B4
Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: Apr 22, 2011, pgs E1 & E7
The Globe and Mail Newspaper Archives: Apr 23, 2011, pg M5
Toronto Star Newspaper Archives: May 31, 2019, pg E3