Doors Open Toronto, Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre, part 2 of 5

Located on Yonge St. just north of Queen you find the Elgin & Winter Garden Theatre. It was designed by famous New York Architect Thomas W. Lamb in 1913 as the Canadian flagship for Marcus Leow’s vaudeville houses. It is the only double decker theatre still operating in the world. The street entrance actually seems small compared to what lies within.

DSC_0038Once in the entrance hall though you get overwhelmed with the scale and majesty of this building.DSC_0040The building itself was rescued in 1981 by the Ontario Heritage Trust and painstakingly refurbished to it’s original glory. I took the elevator (complete with operator) up to the Winter Garden first. Seven stories above the Elgin.

DSC_0044 DSC_0045 DSC_0051It was originally designed this way so that Torontonians, in the middle of winter, could come here and get the feeling that they were outside in a beautiful rooftop garden. All of these wonderful branches and leaves were woven into the ceiling and all the posts look like tree trunks. The entire theatre was hand painted as well.

DSC_0047 DSC_0050Some of the greatest treasures found during restorations in 1981 were a series of these beautiful hand painted flats and drops from 1913-1918.

DSC_0049For all of the outdoors at the Winter Garden the Elgin glistens with awe inspiring gilding and pomp. A reminder of the days when theatre was in it’s heyday.

DSC_0061 DSC_0054

DSC_0058During restoration some 300,000 sheets of wafer thin aluminum were used to regild every part of this theatre. I looked at these box seats and expected to see a couple of old grumpy men.



As I left I noticed even the exits are grand, and on my way out I met a friendly reminder of what this place looked like back in the day.

DSC_0066 DSC_0069 As always, Enjoy Toronto !!


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