NOW Magazine: Paradise Theatre to reopen in December

The newly restored Bloor West cinema will screen movies and host comedy and live music, including Jason Collett's Basement Revue


After closing 13 years ago, the Paradise Theatre at Bloor West and Dovercourt is finally reopening next month.

On December 5, the heritage-designated art deco and art moderne theatre makes its grand return with a full lineup to be announced later this month. Tickets go on sale November 27, the same day the schedule of events will be released.

The Paradise will screen three to four films every month, shortly after their first-run theatrical release, with a focus on independent and critically acclaimed features, in addition to themed film seasons. The first showcase, 7 From ’37, highlights seven films of the Golden Age made in 1937, the year Paradise first opened. The second series, The Second City at 60, will feature films from Second City alumni in honour of the improv and sketch comedy company's 60th anniversary. 

The theatre has also announced special inclusive screenings. On Tuesday mornings, child-friendly Babes in Paradise screenings will have dim lighting, reduced sound, open captioning and optional floor seating, while relaxed screenings throughout the month are intended to create a more accommodating environment for those with different sensory and communication needs.  

Paradise will also host other interdisciplinary arts events including live music performances, talk series and comedy, including a cabaret improv show by Second City alumna Ashley Botting.

Ahead of its official reopening, the theatre is hosting a couple events, including a revival of sportscaster Dave Hodge’s long-running show, The Reporters, for a one-night special on November 25 featuring Hockey Hall of Famer and president of the Toronto Maple Leafs, Brendan Shanahan. The Goethe-Institut will host a screening the 2018 German documentary Gundermann, about East German singer Gerhard Gundermann, to be  followed by a panel discussion, on November 28.

On December 5 and on Thursdays throughout the month, indie singer-songwriter Jason Collett will move his 13th annual music and literary salon Basement Revue to the Paradise.

Along with the 208-seat theatre, the restored venue will also house a new Italian restaurant, Osteria Rialto, and Bar Biltmore, a cocktail and raw bar.

ERA Architects, the local firm that recently restored MOCA on Sterling Road, was in charge of the extensive exterior renovation, which involved restoring the curved parapet and historic ticket booth. Solid Design Collective designed the fully renovated art deco-inspired interiors.

Since it first opened in 1910, the theatre has gone through many life cycles. It was originally a one-storey “theatorium” called the Bloor Palace, and then was renamed The Kitchener in 1918. In 1931, the theatre was rebuilt in art deco style and dubbed Paradise Theatre. It evolved into the infamous adult-film theatre Eve’s Paradise in the 80s and then became part of the Festival Cinemas chain in 1990 until 2006. 

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