Photograph of a street corner during sunset. A large building on the corner with a blue lighted sign that reads "PARADISE". Below is a marquee lit up that reads "WELCOME TO PARADISE / EST 1937 / PARADISEONBLOOR.COM". The right side of the marquee reads "MEAN GIRLS 6PM / BURNING 8:30PM". The building is grey brick and stone.

Paradise Theatre Art Deco

Paradise Theatre

Photograph of a street corner during sunset. A large building on the corner with a blue lighted sign that reads "PARADISE". Below is a marquee lit up that reads "WELCOME TO PARADISE / EST 1937 / PARADISEONBLOOR.COM". The right side of the marquee reads "MEAN GIRLS 6PM / BURNING 8:30PM". The building is grey brick and stone.

Exterior, front of Paradise Theatre, 2021 Heritage Toronto Awards Built Heritage Nominee. Image: Philip Castleton.

Photograph of street and movie theatre at night. There is a street light on.

Exterior, Paradise Theatre, 2021 Heritage Toronto Awards Built Heritage Nominee. Image: Nathan Cyprys.

Photograph of a movie theatre. There are 11 rows of seats that are all black. The walls, ceiling, and floor are all black. On the walls are gold light fixtures. Above the seats are 5 projectors.

Interior, Paradise Theatre, 2021 Heritage Toronto Awards Built Heritage Nominee. Image: Philip Castleton.

Conservation and Rehabilitation

Winner: 2021 Craftsmanship in Built Heritage Award

The Paradise Theatre is a surviving example of Toronto’s hallmark 20th-century theatres, complete with distinct Art Deco styling specific to the World War II era, with abstracted classical and geometrical elements. It was designed by Benjamin Brown, one of the earliest Jewish architects in Toronto, also credited with designing the Standard Theatre, one of the earliest Yiddish theatres in North America.

With a primary conservation approach of rehabilitation, the project began in 2014. The team balanced the needs of careful conservation with the requirement of the client for expanded use to ensure the theatre could operate as a multi-purpose hub. Reopened in December 2019, Paradise Theatre showcases the ability of Toronto’s historical theatres to become neighbourhood hubs once again.

 

The Jury’s Decision

This project brought back to life a stunning example of Toronto’s hallmark early 20th-century cinemas. Reopened in December 2019, Paradise Theatre is a roadmap for how Toronto’s historical theatres can become neighbourhood hubs once again. 

The Built Heritage jury felt that the project deserved recognition for creating a venue that engages the surrounding 21st century community, while maintaining the integrity of the original early 20th-century design. The project team demonstrated an impressive commitment to heritage design standards and craftsmanship while overcoming the many challenges presented by building code, using alternate means and methods to accommodate modern requirements. This includes maintaining the stone facade and the theatre’s distinctive interior Art Deco styling.

Project Partners

Property Owner: Paradise on Bloor

Project Representative: Ware Malcomb

Heritage Architect: ERA Architects

Heritage Craftperson/Consultant: Solid Design Creative

Additional Project Partners:

Clifford Restoration

Brascon Stainless Steel Fabricators

Pride Signs

Stainless Steel: Brascon Stainless Steel Fabricators Inc.