In the spring of 2012, Toronto’s century-old Bloor Cinema received a much-needed facelift, and film-goers in the city got a comfortable, independent theatre to catch movies that may not find their way to screens in the chain cinemas.
The building was opened on Bloor Street in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood in 1913 as one of the city’s first “picture palaces.” Over the next several decades, the place went through several changes, including being torn down and rebuilt in the 1940s, being purchased and run by a major theatre chain in the 1960s and seeing its family-focused programming replaced by an adult film schedule in the 1970s.
In the 1980s, another change in ownership saw a programming shift to independent films, a trend that has continued over the past 30 years. The 2012 facelift saw the walls get repainted in inviting gold and burgundy tones, seats get upgraded and a new digital projector get installed.
And the theatre got a new identity. The newly christened Bloor Hot Docs Cinema will serve as headquarters for Toronto’s annual Hot Docs film festival, and much of the theatre’s programming year-round will be focused on documentaries–a genre no other Toronto theatre is devoted to.
Set in the middle of Toronto’s most notable neighborhoods for academics and arts, the Bloor Hot Docs Cinema has become a hot spot for those looking for insightful and thought-provoking films.