We are pround to announce that City Council has approved the Heritage Listing of the Capitol Theatre Complex in response to LPRO’s nomination. The community continues to be concerned that the building, built in 1918, could be demolished during the redevelopment of the land purchased in spring 2015 by Madison Homes, a Toronto-based developer known for its high-rise condominium and commercial developments. The theatre was purchased from Ronald Buildings Limited, which was owned by the McClelland family, the descendants of the original owner who built it some 97 years ago.
The Capitol Theatre building is one of only a few remaining original vaudeville/movie houses built in Toronto in the 1920s. This spectacular theatre is an important example of the Odeon cinema-style architecture, featuring romantic grand interiors and sumptuous seats. The building was especially valued during the Great Depression of the 1920s and 1930s, when anyone with the money to buy a ticket could find respite from the hardship of daily life inside the theatre’s palatial interior. Its attractive decorative brick exterior and iconic marquee are a physical manifestation of the famous quote by renowned theatre architect S. Charles Lee, “The show started on the sidewalk.”
For 97 years The Capitol Theatre has been part of the visual culture of Toronto’s Lawrence/Lytton Park neighbourhood. It’s an enduring reminder of our community history and collective memories, and is both an architecturally and socially important historical feature of Toronto’s past. Today, the Capitol Theatre continues to serve the community as a successful event theatre where local residents, businesses, schools and community groups host a wide variety of events from fairy-tale weddings, anniversary and birthday celebrations and charity fundraisers to concerts and major corporate events.
North Toronto’s First School: The Loyal Orange Lodge (you may not even know it’s still standing!)
LPRO is proud to annouce that the Loyal Orange Lodge/Eglinton School has received City Heritage Listing. Did you know that North Toronto’s first school sits off a private laneway directly behind the block of retail properties fronting onto Yonge Street between Castlefield and St. Clements Avenues? The property fronting on Yonge Street has been sold to a developer. Built in 1850, the one-room brick school house, now known as the Eglinton Orange Hall, was originally Eglinton School, the sole school for the Village of Eglinton. Today, it’s one of North Toronto’s oldest buildings.
The original Eglinton School was a one-room log schoolhouse built in 1842 on a lot severed from the George Ward farm, on the southwest corner of Yonge and St. Clements Avenue. The Ward farm also provided the site for St. Clement’s Anglican Church and St. Clement’s School. A fire destroyed the original wooden school house, and in 1850 a brick building was constructed on the same site. It continued to serve the students as the area school until the construction and opening of a larger Eglinton Public School in 1887, now known as John Fisher Public School on Erskine Avenue.
The building was also the birthplace of several of North Toronto’s great churches. It served as the Anglican church until the congregation completed construction of St. Clement’s Church west of the subject property in 1892. It was then home to Eglinton Presbyterian Church until that congregation moved to 14 St. Clements, on the northwest corner of Yonge and St. Clements. (Note: that building at 14 St. Clements Avenue is now “listed” by City Council (1973.) In 1908, the Members of the Orange Lodge purchased the land and building from the Presbyterian Church and moved it to its current site off the laneway. They continue to own it.
Please help us keep these historically significant and grand old buildings safe from the wrecking ball, so that we may preserve them for future generations.