My Two Cents on the Plan to Replace the Humber Cinema with Condos

Here I am again, posting about the fate of a cinema that I have loved so much. The resurrection of the Humber Cinema has been a very rough ride, particularly involving the very nasty feud over the management of the theatre. Despite all of that, the Humber has flourished over the last five years or so, with me becoming a semi-regular patron of the cinema. However, it appears that the days of the Humber Cinema are once again numbered. BlogTO is reporting that condo developer Plazacorp has announced its intentions to build a 14 storey condo tower at the site of the theatre. This proposal will be discussed a community meeting at the cinema on Monday, February 8 from 6:30-8:30pm.

What do I think of this? For starters, I think that it is quite ironic. When the Humber was originally closed down by Cineplex more than a decade ago, it was highly expected that the theatre was going to be replaced by condos. It is almost a miracle that the cinema has reopened and has remained open for so long. In addition to playing most major blockbusters, the Humber caters heavily to the families in the Bloor West Village area by regularly programming family films and hosting weekly “Movies for Mommies” screenings. In an age when it is hard to see a new release at Cineplex without paying a premium price for something or another, it is great that I can just go to the Humber and pay the flat rate of $13 to see a movie.

Even though I haven’t lived in the area for more than two years, I am seriously considering attending the community meeting on Monday to express both my nostalgic love of the cinema and concerns about yet another condo popping up in the city. Condo development is way out of control in the city and the developers don’t seem to care about the history of the location that they are developing on top of. It was just over a year ago when the 114 year old Stollerys department store was unceremoniously torn down before it could receive historical status. At the end of this year, the historic Honest Ed’s will be shuttering its doors to be replaced by a new development.

It is in my opinion the Humber Cinema should receive historical status for the fact that it is one of the last remaining of the original five Odeon cinemas to open in Toronto back in the 1940s. It is almost a sick joke that the nearby Runnymede Theatre received historical status, while the Humber Cinema had its doors unceremoniously shuttered in 2003 and was left to rot for eight years. This should not be allowed to happen again.

Toronto does not need anymore condos, however it does need to make an effort to preserve the remnants of its cinema history.

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).