57 drawings : pencil on tracing paper, blueprints and other reproductions ; 72 x 114 cm or smaller
1 cm of textual records
Built in 1913, Loew's Yonge Street Theatre and Winter Garden Theatre complex was the flagship of Marcus Loew's Canadian theatre chain. The theatres were designed by Thomas Lamb as a "double-decker" theatre, with the Winter Garden located seven-stories above the street-level Yonge Street Theatre. This was the only double-decker theatre built in Canada and one of less than a dozen built internationally. The design was considered economical in that it provided a greater amount of seating on a given piece of real estate while allowing the theatre operator to present the same daily show in two theatres. The shows included both vaudeville acts and silent movies.
In 1928, there was a major fire on the site and the Winter Garden Theatre was closed due to the decline in popularity of vaudeville. By 1930, the Yonge Street Theatre was solely a movie theatre, equipped for sound movies. Over the years it gradually fell into disrepair, but continued as a movie theatre until 1981. It was renamed the Elgin Theatre in 1978.
In 1981, the Elgin and Winter Garden were purchased by the Ontario Heritage Foundation, and in 1987 the foundation began a two and half year, $30 million restoration of the theatres. The theatres re-opened in Dec. 1989 exclusively for theatrical productions.
Scope and Content
Sub-series consists of seating plans, blueprints of structural details, and floor plans, sections and elevations for successive alterations (to the entrance, lobby, basement, etc.) of the theatre. The sub-series includes a copy of a city building permit dating from 1934 for renovations carried out by Loew's Theatres Engineering Division. Some of the blueprints date from the original construction of the theatre in 1913.
The sub-series is organized into 9 sub-sub-series, corresponding to project dates of 1913, 1919, 1934, 1939, 1949 (two projects), 1952, 1957 and 1959. The earliest materials, such as those from 1913 and 1919, were not created by Kaplan & Sprachman, but were no doubt used as reference materials for their work at the theatre.
Please note that the blueprints of structural details such as columns and roof reinforcing beams may apply to the theatre complex as a whole, including the Winter Garden Theatre.
Title is derived from the formal titles of the drawings.
Elgin Theatre (Toronto)
Winter Garden Theatre (Toronto)
Some drawings are torn & damaged.
Some are discoloured or damaged by deteriorating pressure-sensitive tape.
132 architectural drawings : pencil (some on tracing paper, some hand col. using pencil crayon), blueprints and other reproductions ; 76 x 106 cm or smaller
5 photographs : b&w ; 44 x 55 cm or smaller
One of sixteen theatres in Canada designed by the well-known architect Thomas W. Lamb, the Uptown Theatre opened in 1920 as a movie and vaudeville theatre of almost 3000 seats, and was later the first theatre in Toronto equipped for sound movies. In 1960 the Uptown's main auditorium was destroyed by a major fire. Kaplan & Sprachman participated in the theatre's subsequent renovation.
In 1969 the Uptown was split into a five screen theatre through conversion of the theatre's balcony, backstage and basement areas. The Uptown was closed and demolished in late 2003 following the 28th Annual Toronto International Film Festival after the cinema operator, Famous Players, decided to close it and other theatres rather than comply with an Ontario Human Rights Commission order to make the theatres fully wheelchair-accessible.
Scope and Content
Sub-series consists of seating plans, blueprints of structural details, floor plans, sections and elevations for successive alterations (to the entrance, lobby, escalator, etc.) of the theatre, as well as several photographs of the Uptown's entrance and auditorium. The sub-series includes a number of hand-coloured drawings of the main auditorium dating from 1962, with paint and fabric samples attached, apparently associated with the re-building of the auditorium following the fire of 1960. The sub-series also includes a set of photo-reproductions of Thomas Lamb's original 1919 plans for the theatre, acquired by Kaplan & Sprachman in 1960.
The sub-series is arranged in 9 sub-sub-series corresponding to project dates of 1919, 1936, 1945, 1949, 1960, 1962, and 1968. The final sub-sub-series relates to work done by Kaplan after the dissolution of Kaplan & Sprachman.
In several cases, a sub-sub-series includes drawings and plans from earlier projects, used as reference materials for the current project.
Lamb, Thos. W. (Thomas White), 1871-1942
Uptown Theatre (Toronto, Ont.)
Some drawings torn or water-damaged. Some are discoloured or damaged by deteriorating pressure-sensitive tape.