The Opera House is located in historic Leslieville, one of the many working class communities that grew during the late 1800’s to service the ever-growing city of Toronto. Most of the area residents were market gardeners or were employed at one of the area’s brick making companies.
The original Opera House structure was built as a Vaudeville theatre. During the late 1800’s Vaudeville was developed as the first mass market entertainment, highly organized revolving shows that combined the spectacle of the circus with the more common class entertainment of bars and pubs. The idea was to entertain the emerging middle class who had developed both disposable income and leisure time. By its very nature Vaudeville was a grind industry as most of the theatres were pumping out 5 full-length shows a day, all day long.
As it is today, Toronto of the late 1800’s was considered an important stop on entertainment circuit and at the height of the Vaudeville era Toronto boasted over 50 theatres, large and small, to prove it. Unfortunately, a much cheaper and easier to distribute entertainment became all the rage and as the Hollywood Machine cranked out movies and the economy ground to halt most of the beautiful Vaudeville buildings were converted to movie houses.
The Opera House operated as La Plaza Theatre during the 1930’s and ran as a movie theatre through to the 60’s, it was know as the Acropolis, Dundas and Cinema Ellas. You can still see a couple of the old projectors up in the back balcony.Grease paint and spectacle are built into the bones of building. The stage of the Opera House once again hosts live bands and variety shows, DJ’s and comedians. Happily live entertainment treads the boards and lights the proscenium arch once again.
© 2010 The Opera House Toronto
Design by ab*