Victory Burlesque Theatre – Once Began as a Live Yiddish Venue

The Victory Burlesque Theatre was located at ‪287 Spadina Ave‬ (at Dundas St W on the northeast corner), in the Chinatown neighbourhood of Toronto.

The Standard Theatre

Originally built as the Standard Theatre in 1922, the live Yiddish theatre venue was developed by Toronto’s Jewish community. It’s up for debate which architect designed the theatre, either Benjamin Brown or John Jeffrey. The three-storey, Art-Deco style building features buff brick, two pairs of brick piers with decorative cast stone capitals, flat-headed window openings, a dentiled cornice and brick parapet.

Along with presenting Jewish theatrical productions with its own company of actors, the Standard Theatre also hosted New York City touring companies and was the backdrop for political meetings.

In 1935, the post World War I era theatre became The Strand and changed names once again in 1941 to the Victory Theatre.

The Victory Burlesque Theatre

In 1961, the venue began showing live performances again, this time of the risqué variety. It was called the Victory Burlesque Theatre and the opening act was Little Star, “the blazing gal from outer space.” Toronto Police morality squad kept a watchful eye on the theatre. It was quite the corner at the time. In the 1970’s, similar Yonge St establishments were attracting more of an audience and in 1975, its curtains closed.

That same year the venue was renovated and became a Chinese-language theatre called Golden Harvest. It was in operation for about 20 years.

The Heritage Building Today

Throughout the years, retail shops and a bank has occupied various parts of the building which received heritage status in 2007. Today, the building is home to Rexall Drugstore and retail shops.

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