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Theatre in Toronto

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
First, this is all from recollection. I don't think I've been in that theatre for at least 20-25 years. I've only been in that neighbourhood a handful of times in the last 5 years.

From a TO Star article, it seems as if there was a problem during the demolition of either the theatre or an adjacent building. It was probably related to unsupported walls that have "crept" onto one another and undermining existing footings/structural supports.

I would not want to be the building inspector on that job duty today.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,918
Points
37
It's one of my files, actually (a traffic impact study was submitted for the proposed redevelopment). I don't have anything to do with demo or construction though. The Uptown was a great old theatre - one of the last true moviehouses left in the City. The last movie I saw there was the Denzel Washington/Gene Hackman sub thriller "Crimson Tide"?

The owners shut it down when faced with the results of a judicial decision forcing them to make it wheelchair accessible. They then sold it to a redeveloper who is proposing a 50 storey condo. It was my impression that the theatre was being saved and that the new building was being built on the rear of the site, but I guess I was wrong - the whole thing was being demo'd.

Not a very happy day here in the city. Pictures of the collapse
 

donk

Cyburbian
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6,970
Points
30
Looking at those images, it seems like a "preservation error".

Developer says to City, "we'll do everything we can to save the facade and as much of the structure as possible, oops just cut the main supporting beams, oops there goes the building".
 
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5,352
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31
Did the theatre have any historic value? Was it worth saving? It seems like developers love to demo regardless.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
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7,918
Points
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Planderella said:
Did the theatre have any historic value? Was it worth saving? It seems like developers love to demo regardless.
It depends on who you talk to. It really looked like crap (IMHO) from the outside - a bad '60s/70s facade had been put over the original, and the entrance had been modified (extensively, I think). I'm pretty sure most of the interior had been degraded as well - I don't think any of the original fittings, etc. were still in existence.

I think the heritage value was largely intangible - it was one of the last large vaudeville theatres built, and some famous acts played there. It was one of my favourite places to see a movie because it was a great "room" - absolutely huge inside.

I'm not an expert though, I could be wrong in my analysis of its historical value.
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
On heritage value, ask yourself the following questions

1) Architectural Merit?
2) Associated with a famous person/event
3) Designed by a famous person
4) Cultural merit/importance.

If what Tran thinks is the merit of the theatre, vaudville, it is probably important. You also have to look at the history of the area (Yorkville - one of teh first streetcar suburbs) and the role the theatre probably played in the community.

As it sits today, probably no architectural merit, but who knows what was behind that facade. Look at the wintergarden (I think) on yonge across from the eatons centre. For years it was a cinema 11 with a really rotten facade.
 
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Slightly O.T.

This building was originally slated for demo.......kinda warranted given its hideous facade.



BUT, the preservationists insisted there was something underneath that facade. Their persistence paid off:


 
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1
Although we all assumed gross incompetence on first look at this fiasco, one eye witness saw the cause of the two broken beams that led to the collapse of the building…a crane…a big red crane (as can be seen at the bottom of the CP24 pics, linked by TranPlanner).

A massive red power shovel that sat idle after the collapse had been digging at the base of the building when it "clipped" a pair of steel girders just before the accident, witnesses said.
http://www.canada.com/vancouver/news/story.asp?id=546F50CE-5FB0-4E57-9570-8A740D45443D

Which is great. Just great. Because that just made one of my irrational fears rational. Another bubble burst. And here I was convincing myself of the skilled competency of crane operators. If they can hit beams, they can hit anything!

Also, I am completely confused by the statement made by councillor Rae…how does he not know “the nature of [the owner’s] concerns” if he talked to him about it?

Kyle Rae, a Toronto councillor, said the owner of the theatre told him Sunday that he was bothered by how the demolition of the seven-storey building was proceeding. "The owner of the building was concerned, but I don't know what the nature of his concern was,'' Rae said.
http://cms.firehouse.com/content/article/article.jsp?sectionId=46&id=22921

So, here are some questions that may be worth debating:
Why don’t we scrutinize demolition plans like construction plans?
Who is ultimately responsible for this situation?
Who could have prevented it?

And on a lighter note…When the hell did Toronto get an Ambula-bus? (that thing put the fear of god into me, I swear!)

p.s. I do think the Uptown was both culturally and historically important
 

donk

Cyburbian
Messages
6,970
Points
30
CityGrrl said:

So, here are some questions that may be worth debating:
Why don’t we scrutinize demolition plans like construction plans?
Who is ultimately responsible for this situation?
Who could have prevented it?

My inspectors have been discussing these questions too.

On these questions

1) Technically, due to the location, and construction techniques originally used the demo plans probably were scrutinized and approved by an engineer/architect.

2) I see law suit against the City, as they issued a demoliton permit they are ultimately responsible for the work undertaken on the property and ensuring it conforms with standard / accepted procedures. (Supreme Court case from St. Andrews Motel with repspect to building permits)

3) Prevention. Who knows. maybe the walls could have been better supported, or demolition could have occured in a different fashion. But considering the neighbours complained because they were working at night, who knows.
 

Tranplanner

maudit anglais
Messages
7,918
Points
37
It does look like someone didn't know what they were doing.

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews/TPStory/LAC/20031209/UPDEMO09/TPNational/Toronto

As for historical value - apparently the Uptown was the first theatre in Toronto wired for "talkies". It was a great place to watch movies, but a fire back in the '60s did a lot of damage to the place. After the fire, it was renovated and turned into a multiplex. The main auditorium was kept, but slightly smaller - about 2000 seats. (2900 as constructed).
 
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