Experiencing the Humber Orchestra Circle

Humber Orchestra Circle (credit: Kingsway Movies)

As you may know, a major area of interest of mine, for the past few months, involved tracking the progress of the reopened Humber Cinema, which is a theatre that holds major sentimental value for me.

Today marked my fourth visit to the theatre since it reopened last April and it was first in the new reopened downstairs theatre, which is being dubbed the “Orchestra Circle” (since it’s on the orchestra level of the original 1940s theatre).

The upstairs theatre that has been open for the past three months was always the lesser of the two screens at the Humber, since it was originally the balcony of the original theatre that was later converted into a second screening room.  The downstairs theatre was always the main screening room (it was even labeled “cinema 1” during the Cineplex years) and I was patiently waiting for its return.

(credit: Kingsway Movies)

I have to admit that I was a bit awe-struck when I entered the theatre.  This is the screening room where I saw the bulk of the major films during the Humber’s heyday and I have to say that a very nice job was done on the restoration.  While the Humber was closed, there were archive photos online on what the theatre looked like after Cineplex left the theatre.  Sadly, I can no longer locate the photos to post them, but I can say that the downstairs theatre was totally stripped and looked like a gymnasium.

The Original Humber (credit: Kingsway Movies)

Based on how bare the theatre was left, I am amazed at how well the theatre was restored, in a way that replicates the original look of the Humber from the 1940s (as seen in the above archive photo).

As for watching a film in the theatre, I definitely have to say that I would prefer this one to the upstairs theatre.  Not only is the screen noticeably bigger, but I find the seating layout is better and I actually have some decent legroom in this theatre.  I definitely expecting that most the future major releases will play in this theatre.

Now, the restorations for the Humber are far from over.  I believe there are plans to create two additional (smaller capacity) screening rooms.  I noticed what looked to be partitions at the back of the theatre, which I’m assuming are the beginnings of these screening rooms.  It will be interesting to see how they turn out.

Sean Kelly Author

Sean Patrick Kelly is a self-described über-geek, who has been an avid film lover for all his life. He graduated from York University in 2010 with an honours B.A. in Cinema and Media Studies and he likes to believe he knows what he’s talking about when he writes about film (despite occasionally going on pointless rants).