Victory Burlesque Theatre – Once Began as a Live Yiddish Venue

1935/37 - The Strand Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking south
1935/37 – The Strand Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking south (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 1133)

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 & Strand Theatre

Originally built as the Standard Theatre in 1922, Toronto’s Jewish community developed the live Yiddish theatre venue. It’s debatable 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 a 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

1968 - The Victory Burlesque Theatre and Shopsy's Deli at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast
1968 – The Victory Burlesque Theatre and Shopsy’s Deli at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast (City of Toronto Archives, Series 648, File 246, ID 5)

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 1970s, similar Yonge St establishments attracted more of an audience, and in 1975, its curtains closed.

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

The Heritage Building Today

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

Victory Burlesque Theatre Photos

2020 - Rexall, formerly the Victory Burlesque Theatre at the northeast corner of Spadina Ave and Dundas St W
2020 – Rexall, formerly the Victory Burlesque Theatre at the northeast corner of Spadina Ave and Dundas St W
1972 - The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast
1972 – The Victory Burlesque Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 2032, Series 841, File 47, Item 15)
1980's - The Royal Bank, formerly the Victory Burlesque Theatre at the northeast corner of Spadina Ave and Dundas St W
1980’s – The Royal Bank, formerly the Victory Burlesque Theatre at the northeast corner of Spadina Ave and Dundas St W (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1465, File 601, Item 3)
1970's - The Golden Harvest Theatre, formerly the Victory Burlesque Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast
1970’s – The Golden Harvest Theatre, formerly the Victory Burlesque Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast (photo of a photo taken at City of Toronto Archives)
1968 - The Victory Burlesque Theatre and Shopsy's Deli at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast
1968 – The Victory Burlesque Theatre and Shopsy’s Deli at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking northeast (City of Toronto Archives, Series 648, File 246, ID 5)
1935/37 - The Strand Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking south
1935/37 – The Strand Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking south (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1488, Series 1230, Item 1133)
1930 - The Standard Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking north
1930 – The Standard Theatre at Spadina Ave and Dundas St W, looking north (City of Toronto Archives, Series 372, Sub Series 58, Item 1232a)
Before 1915 - Dr Henry Moorhouse's residence and later the site of the theatre, on the northeast corner of Spadina Ave and Dundas St W
Before 1915 – Dr Henry Moorhouse’s residence and later the site of the theatre, on the northeast corner of Spadina Ave and Dundas St W (City of Toronto Archives, Fonds 1244, Item 295)
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