Toronto: Cinema City

Toronto’s movie-going history stretches far back to 1896, with the first projection of the Lumière Cinematographe at the Exhibition and a few days later at 96 Yonge Street. With the arrival of new technologies and changes in movie-going tastes over the years, several hundred theatres consisting of converted store-fronts, smaller neighbourhood houses, and outright movie palaces have graced Toronto’s streets.

Well over a century after the first flicker of the Lumière Brothers’ game-changing invention, most of Toronto’s cinemas are gone. Some, like the Fox and Projection Booth in the east end, as well as the Revue, the Kingsway and the Royal in the west, still operate as cinemas. Others, like the majestic Eglinton, a true art-deco palace, have been converted into event spaces.

But what makes a cinema? How important are plush velvet seats or a marquee blazing its neon glory? Alternative film-going spaces have long been a staple in Toronto exhibition, from the efforts of various film societies, A Space, the various incarnations of Reg Hartt’s Cineforum, CineCycle, and most recently, the Trash Palace.

Over the last century, Toronto has boasted over 300 cinemas, populating countless streets and neighbourhoods. Toronto: Cinema City visualizes this density on a large map of the city, giving visitors a taste of movie-going locales throughout the decades.

The sites, from art deco palaces to modern-day megaplexes, are only half the story, as none of them would have existed without the spirit of human endeavour. Through writing and archival photographs, the exhibit also pays tribute to the showmen, exhibitors, stage-hands, musicians, projectionists, and patrons who injected a breath of life into the flickering images.

From April 12-21, print ephemera and artifacts from forgotten theatres will be on display as part of the Images Festival for experimental and independant media arts. During the festival, Urbanspace Gallery will also serve as the Images HUB, featuring a cinematheque, panel discussions, artist talks, and workshops throughout the festival. See below for a schedule of events.

Special thanks to Paul S. Moore, Associate Professor of Sociology, Ryerson University.

Schedule of Events:

Talk to the Pie 1 = Defining Cinema Space Panel
Friday, April 13, 2012 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm

From micro-cinemas to movie palaces, salons to parks to farmers fields; join Toronto, Cinema City curator and Toronto film historian Eric Veillette with special guests discussing what makes a cinema a cinema. Free pie and coffee!

FREE walking tour :: Images Off-screen Galleries
Saturday, April 14, 2012 • 2 tours starting at 1:00pm and 3:00pm

Guided walk of exhibitions at 401 Richmond Street West and 204 Spadina. Tour begins at 204 Spadina.

Talk to the Pie 2 = Memory and Narrative
Monday, April 16, 2012 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Festival artists Mike Gibisser and Monique Moumblow wtih curator Erik Martinson in discussion. Free pie and coffee!

Talk to the Pie 3 = People and Places
Tuesday, April 17, 2012 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Festival artists Antoine Bourges, Lina Rodriguez and Myrium Yates in conversation. Free pie and coffee!

Talk to the Pie 4 = Some people talking
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Join festival guests for a conversation (more details to be announced). Free pie and coffee!

Talk to the Pie 5 = Exhibition and its Discontents
Thursday, April 19, 2012 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Presented by MANO, the Media Arts Network of Ontatrio. Join us for an open forum to discuss anything that concerns you as an independent media artist, programmer and/or watcher! Open call submission processes got you down? What about those pesky premiere policies? Online distribution or the lack of venues for Super8 or 16mm projection? Bring it on! Free pie and coffee!

Talk to the Pie 6 = Keren Cytter + Maaike Gouwenburg
Friday, April 20, 2012 • 3:00pm – 4:00pm

Join festival artist Keren Cytter and curator Maaike Gouwenburg for a conversation about the performance I Eat Pickles At Your Funeral.

Jodie Mack Talk + Optical Toy Workshop
Saturday, April 21, 2012 • 1:00pm – 2:30pm

Co-presented with LIFT and TAIS. Animator Jodie Mack presents a hands on optical toy workshop (Thaumatropes, Phenakistoscopes, Flipbooks, etc.).

Curated by:

Eric Veillette & Nathan Storring


401 Richmond Street West
Ground Floor
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
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