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May 31, 2006

“Save the Revue” online petition.

Filed under: The Revue Cinema — NorthRonces @ 11:06 am

There is now an online peitition to save the Revue Cinema as a theatre. Add your support to the fight. Here is the text of the petition:

To: Sylvia Watson

On June 30th, The Revue Cinema (along with fellow Festival Cinemas Royal, Kingsway, Paradise and Fox) is being shutdown. Having never ceased operations as a theatre since it was built in 1911, (making it the oldest continually run theatre in Ontario) this news is especially distressing. The architectural and historical heritage The Revue represents is important to the Roncesvalles landscape and must be protected!

In its current use, the Revue Cinema acts as a community gathering point that celebrates film, culture, and the arts. Further, the Revue Cinema is a business anchor that is critical to the economic vitality of the community.

We, the undersigned, insist that no structural changes be made to the building at this historical site.

Sincerely,

The Undersigned

NOTE: To access the petition, click on the red “Save the Revue Online Petition” banner in the upper right corner of this page.

“Make the Revue part of the future of the Roncesvalles community, not part of its past”

Filed under: The Revue Cinema — NorthRonces @ 10:58 am

Susan Flanagan provides information about the possibility of a heritage designation for the Revue Theatre. If you want to support the fight to save the Revue please take Susan’s advice and email Councillor Sylvia Watson and Mayor Miller (links below).

3. The Revue theatre is a historically important building not just for the Roncesvalles community but also for Toronto. To this end, I wrote to Councillor Watson last week asking that the building be listed on the historical inventory. With the advice of Heritage Preservation Services Councillor Watson moved a motion at City Council last week to have the building designated as a heritage property. Council adopted the motion and it will be discussed at a meeting of the Toronto Preservation Board at its June 22 meeting

While this is positive, a designation appears to confer little protection from substantive change.

4. Regardless of the above, there is a rumour that the owners are interested in selling the Revue for another use, not compatible with the historic nature of the building. However, at this point, their exact intentions are unclear. To this end, it is extremely important to email Councillor Watson to register your concern with this. I would also recommend emailing the Mayor’s office urging him to protect this building. Let’s make it known that we want to protect the integrity of our community!

Susan Flanagan
Save the Revue

May 30, 2006

NorthRonces.com: A friend of the Revue.

Filed under: The Revue Cinema — NorthRonces @ 10:32 pm

NorthRonces.com has received a comment to one of our entries on the Revue Cinema closure. Specifically, it was a response from “a friend of the owner” to the Revue Cinema manager’s appeal for creative ideas about saving the Revue as a neighbourhood cinema—a goal that NorthRonces.com shares. Here is the “friends” comment in full:

As a friend of the owners, I thought you should be better informed:

The rep theatre business is not a viable business nor has it been for over 15 years – changing the business model is not going to make much of a difference.

If you really want to save these theatres then convincing the city to BUY them and run then as community centre would be a more REASONABLE and REALISTIC goal.

By the way, there is no manager of operations and not all the managers think this is a viable business

Friend of the owner

My own personal response to this comment is why should I—as a friend of North Roncesvalles and the Revue Cinema—take the owner’s, or the owner’s friend’s, word that the “rep theatre business” is not viable? I would ask, viable according to whose terms, business plan or goals?

Obviously, it is in the current owner’s best interest to convince the general public that they have tried their best and have no other option but to close the theatre and sell off the property. It plays better than admitting they are not interested in a business that requires alot of love and effort and does not guarantee massive profits.

I am beginning to think that the owners realize that because of its history selling off the Revue Cinema may be more difficult than selling the Royal Theatre (which is already listed for sale on-line at $2.7 million). Both the threat of community outrage and action, as well as a possible heritage designation, might get in the way of an easy and lucrative sale as both tend to drag down the asking price.

It is for this reason that I think that the owners are taking it slowly and having their friends present the inevitability of the theatre’s end—unless of course the City of Toronto “buys” the building. Looking at the history of neighbourhood theatres in Toronto, this last option is highly unlikely. What is more probable is finding someone who does want to run the theatre as a film theatre, especially if the price is right.

May 27, 2006

Calling all Roncesvalles businesses: Join the RVBIA now!

Filed under: Street Beautification — NorthRonces @ 7:29 am

This is interesting. The Roncesvalles Village Business Improvement Association (RVBIA) is asking Roncesvalles Avenue businesses that are not currently part of the RVBIA—because they are located north of Hewitt Avenue and south of Galley—to join up and become a member. The letter below explains why. Briefly, the main motivation is that the city is setting this as a requirement for the upcoming Roncesvalles Avenue “beautification program” that will coincide with the upcoming street work.

To quote John Bowker, a RVBIA board member and owner of She Said Boom!, “the City informs us that in order to benefit fully from the beautification program, the northern and southern businesses need to become part of the BIA.” I am not sure what “benefit fully” actually means, but I will try and get more details from the RBVIA and post them here early next week. Here is John’s full letter:

I met with Councillor Sylvia Watson on May 1, along with several other departments and agencies (such as TTC, Enbridge, Works, and others) who have work planned for Roncesvalles. Our hope is that all these projects can be coordinated, so that the street will experience only one disruption instead of several.

The reconstruction will also include a beautification component. Some ideas include expanding the sidewalks onto the side streets, allowing for more public space, tree plantings and decorative paving treatments. There is also the possibility of getting rid of the concrete “tree coffins,” which so many have complained about. There are more details on the BIA’s website. The BIA also has funds available for streetscape improvements, to be cost-shared with the City. (more…)

May 24, 2006

A public call: Let’s look for a solution to save our local cinema.

Filed under: The Revue Cinema — NorthRonces @ 10:17 pm

Midori, the manager of the Revue Cinema, has asked me to pass along this following call to arms:

Dear Friends, Neighbours, and Cinema Lovers,

It is with deep disappointment that I write you today with news the Revue, Royal, and Kingsway theatres are slated to close this June 30th, 2006. Like many of you, I will miss walking to my favourite cinema, that nostalgic silver screen experience, and the movies themselves. But more than that, the Revue has felt like a community gathering place where friends and neighbours bump into each other, where we celebrate neighbourhood kids’ birthdays, and bring our babies to the mini-matinées. I will miss getting to know the folks of this neighbourhood and certainly miss working with the dedicated, dynamic, and boundlessly energetic team here. (more…)

May 22, 2006

The Revue: We can’t return to the 40s & 50s, or to the 70s, for that matter.

Filed under: The Revue Cinema — NorthRonces @ 10:20 am

The Toronto-centric blog Paved.ca offers an overview of the issues and responses to the incipient closing of the three neighbourhood theatres operated under the Festival Cinema banner, including the Revue. They also offer a bit of context to the closures (check out their link to the The Royal Theatre’s real estate listing).

One point raised, in both the item itself and an appended comment, is that Festival Cinemas dug its own grave by relying upon ongoing event films like, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, or more recently showing mainly Hollywood movies just shortly after their first release. This put them in direct competition with early DVD releases for the bulk of their custom.

Personally, I am not sure if this is the main issue as The Revue’s attraction to me was that I could see a decent movie without travelling downtown, or to the suburbs, for a decent price and in an old-school theatre setting.

Truffaut's Jules et Jim

François Truffaut’s Jules et Jim.

Further, the experimental and foreign films that once drew a fair number of filmophiles have been for the most part replaced by “independent” films that are, really, in direct competition with the Hollywood blockbusters. Just see the last year’s Oscar list and Brokeback Mountain’s gross revenues.

Brokeback Mountain

Brokeback Mountain, a big indepedendent.

I do think the Revue’s slate of films could be diversified more than it currently is—by including more contemporary foreign films, for example—but returning to some film aficionados’ repertory ideal from the 70s and 80s is as nostalgic as expecting to return to the post-WWII glory days of movie-going in Canada—before television, and eventually video and computers, undermined film’s cultural centrality.

May 21, 2006

Clarification of Globe & Mail and Toronto Star errors.

Filed under: The Revue Cinema — NorthRonces @ 6:55 pm

Thanks go to Midori, manager of the Revue Theatre, for clarifying the ownership and history of the Revue. The McMillans do indeed own the building which opened up in 1911 as a movie theatre. Midori contributed the following comment to NorthRonces.com and I thought it deserved its own blog entry:

The Revue is owned privately by the McQuillans, The Globe and Mail report had its information wrong. The theatre opened in 1911 exclusively as a cinema and has never closed its doors in its 95 year history (it has also always been an independent, if my information is correct). This fact makes the Revue the oldest running cinema in the province and third oldest in Canada. It certainly is a blow to the city’s film lovers to have the Revue and the other reps close their doors. We have been really touched by the support the community has offered since the closure was announced earlier this week and will keep you apprised as new information becomes available. I am hopeful the Revue will be back as your neighbourhood cinema in the near future!

Midori,

Manager, Revue Cinema

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