The retro Paradise Theatre on Bloor got a swanky new makeover. Here’s a look inside
After 13 years as an abandoned landmark on Bloor West, the Paradise Theatre reopens in all its 1930s glory. First opened as the Bloor Palace in 1910, the property officially became Paradise Theatre in 1937, which is when the space expanded and got its distinctive Art Deco façade. It had many lives after that—it was a home for Gujarati and Italian films and an adult-only cinema—before closing down permanently in 2006.
New owner Moray Tawse, a co-founder of the private lending company First National, enlisted ERA architects to reconstruct every inch based on archival photos and drawings. They recreated the original marquee signage out front from scratch and built a retro speakeasy-style interior, with brass accents, leather stools and funky tiling. The programming focuses on films set in the city or starring local talent, and caters to Bloor West’s evolving young family community—they run a weekly screening for infants and caregivers where they fold down the front five rows in favour of toddler-friendly mats. Here’s a look inside.
The exterior brick was original, but the white cladding is all new. The architects worked with Pride Signs, the company that helped bring the El Mocambo sign back to life, on the retro steel signage. To the right is a soon-to-open Italian restaurant called Osteria Rialto, and above it a separate cocktail and raw bar called Bar Biltmore:
The entire place had to be totally excavated and rebuilt. Local firm Solid Design Creative was responsible for the interior design:
There are classic concession snacks on hand, though the place tries to be more sustainable than traditional theatres. They offer reusable cups and have a compost bin for extra popcorn:
It’s fully licensed, too:
The theatre is working with the National Institute for the Blind to be as accessible as possible. There are Bluetooth beacons attached to the hallways, so anyone who’s impaired can link to an app for guiding instructions:
Here’s the view from the stage. The screen retracts into the ceiling for live performances:
The new owners have reduced capacity from 600 to 200, allowing for more plush seating and leg room:
The balcony upstairs offers even swankier seating options:
There are high-top stools, too, which will probably come in handy for musical performances:
There’s another bar for balcony guests:
Here’s the view from the balcony. This weekend, viewers can catch showings of Marriage Story, The Awful Truth and a Second City comedy performance:
The bathrooms are much more civilized than at your local Cineplex:
1006 Bloor St. W., paradiseonbloor.com.