HISTORY OF THE REVUE

1935

1911
Amid a theatre-building boom, a permit is granted to the Suburban Amusement Co. to construct a purpose-built cinema at the corner of Howard Park and Roncesvalles.
1912
Concerned about the perceived corruptible influence of moving pictures on children, the Toronto Board of Education protests the cinema’s construction. A letter is sent to the police commissioner “protesting strongly against the establishment of a moving picture show in the vicinity of Howard Park School.” Stronger heads prevail and The Revue Theatre opens.
The “theatorium” includes a small stage with a movable screen, and is used as both a playhouse and a cinema. Its original address is 320 Roncesvalles Avenue.
1914
Proceeds from various screenings are donated to the war effort.
1920
Jacob Smith, owner since 1912,  operates the Revue as a first run cinema where people comes to see the latest films.
1925
As businesses are closed on Sundays, various religious congregations use the cinema as a place of worship and Sunday schools throughout the ‘20s and ‘30s.
1929
Joining the ranks of many Toronto theatres, the Revue converts to sound and talking pictures.
1930
The Revue remains highly popular during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. The Revue provided affordable entertainment to escape the grim economic times.
1936
An extensive Art Deco re-construction courtesy of architects Kaplan & Sprachman. The cinema now features a marquee and 543 seats. A gala opening takes place in September.
1939
During the Second World War until 1945, films attempt to lift the people’s morale. Children visiting the Revue were given, as a part of a government program, a glass of milk to help alleviate the effect of rations.
1955
Let’s all go to the lobby! Two rows are removed from the back of the theatre to make way for a concession stand, several years after they’d become common-place in Toronto theatres.
1960
Per the Globe & Mail: A bandit pushed a gun through the box office wicket. Mrs. Frederica Jarosz, the cashier, screamed and the man fled with the manager and two ushers in pursuit. They lost him after a chase of several blocks.
Through the 1960s, German films are shown regularly throughout the decade to serve west-end Toronto’s growing German-speaking population.
1970
Managed by Paul Ennis in the 1970s, the Revue is known as a premier art-house in the city regularly showing the works of Fellini and Bergman and showcasing new filmmakers like Werner Herzog.
1972
Renamed to the Revue Cinema, it becomes an independently-run art house and repertory theatre.
1980
The Revue joins the city-wide Festival Cinemas chain and operates as a repertory and second run cinema. The chain is owned by Etobicoke resident, accountant and film buff Peter McQuillan.
2000
The wooden seats are finally replaced with the current seats. A total of 238 seats were installed.
2006
The Revue closes after the fall of the Festival Cinemas chain and the death of building owner Peter McQuillan. The Revue Film Society is formed in order to preserve the cinema.
The Toronto Preservation Board provides historic designation to the Revue’s façade. They acknowledge  the presence of classical Edwardian details typical of the World War One era.
2007
After years of neglect, a heavy snow buildup was key to the collapse of the Revue’s marquee onto the street in February. Thankfully, nobody is hurt.
The Revue Film Society, busy with fundraising efforts to re-open the cinema, preserves portions of the marquee. Except for the loss of its marquee, the facade of the theatre remains unchanged since it was constructed.
The cinema reopens as a not-for-profit, community-driven cinema in October, with a gala screening of Some Like It Hot.
2012
As exhibition formats convert from 35mm film to digital, the Revue Film Society is recipient of a Trillium Grant to assist in the purchase of digital projection technology just in time to celebrate turning 100 years old!
2014
The cinema makes a push towards more community-focused, event-driven screenings and is awarded a second Trillium Grant in order to renovate the lobby and interior, restoring much of the building’s Edwardian and Art Deco charm.
2017
The Revue celebrates 10 years as a nonprofit cultural community organization.
TODAY
Tthe Revue Film Society works with several charities, not-for-profit organizations and neighborhood schools, helping to raise funds or bring awareness to various social causes. It hosted a fundraiser for the Kids Up Front organization with the film On The Way to School. Months later, over one hundred students from Howard Park Public School attended a film history seminar, followed by a silent Charlie Chaplin screening with live piano accompaniment.
There’s a sense of irony attached to the Revue’s current educational and fundraising mandate, since a nearby school nearly kept it from opening in 1912.