A “theatorium” opened in 1912 at 400 Roncesvalles Avenue and has been a staple of the Toronto arts and culture scene ever since.

While much of the world has changed since it first opened, Toronto theatregoers still love to watch their favourite films at the Revue.

Today we are one of the city’s few remaining independent cinemas. The theatre is operated by the Revue Film Society, a non-profit organization.

  • 1911
    Amid a theatre-building boom, a permit is granted to the Suburban Amusement Co. to construct a purpose-built cinema at the corner of Howard Park and Roncesvalles.
  • 1912
    Concerned about the perceived corruptible influence of moving pictures on children, the Toronto Board of Education protests the cinema’s construction. A letter is sent to the police commissioner “protesting strongly against the establishment of a moving picture show in the vicinity of Howard Park School.” Stronger heads prevail and The Revue Theatre opens. The “theatorium” includes a small stage with a movable screen, and is used as both a playhouse and a cinema. Its original address is 320 Roncesvalles Avenue.
  • 1914
    Proceeds from various screenings are donated to the war effort.
  • 1920
    Jacob Smith, owner since 1912, operates the Revue as a first run cinema where people comes to see the latest films.
  • 1925
    As businesses are closed on Sundays, various religious congregations use the cinema as a place of worship and Sunday schools throughout the ‘20s and ‘30s.
  • 1929
    Joining the ranks of many Toronto theatres, the Revue converts to sound and talking pictures.
  • 1930
    The Revue remains highly popular during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. The Revue provided affordable entertainment to escape the grim economic times.
  • 1936
    An extensive Art Deco re-construction courtesy of architects Kaplan & Sprachman. The cinema now features a marquee and 543 seats. A gala opening takes place in September.
  • 1939
    During the Second World War until 1945, films attempt to lift the people’s morale. Children visiting the Revue were given, as a part of a government program, a glass of milk to help alleviate the effect of rations.
  • 1970
    Managed by Paul Ennis in the 1970s, the Revue is known as a premier art-house in the city regularly showing the works of Fellini and Bergman and showcasing new filmmakers like Werner Herzog.
  • 1972
    Renamed to the Revue Cinema, it becomes an independently-run art house and repertory theatre.
  • 1980
    The Revue joins the city-wide Festival Cinemas chain and operates as a repertory and second run cinema. The chain is owned by Etobicoke resident, accountant and film buff Peter McQuillan.
  • 2000
    The wooden seats are finally replaced with the current seats. A total of 238 seats were installed.
  • 2006
    The Revue closes after the fall of the Festival Cinemas chain and the death of building owner Peter McQuillan. The Revue Film Society is formed in order to preserve the cinema. The Toronto Preservation Board provides historic designation to the Revue’s façade. They acknowledge the presence of classical Edwardian details typical of the World War One era.
  • 2007
    Danny and Letty Mullin become the new owners of 400 Roncesvalles Avenue. With their help, and community support, the Revue Film Society reopens the cinema as a not-for-profit, community-driven theatre with a gala screening of Some Like It Hot.
  • 2012
    As exhibition formats convert from 35mm film to digital, the Revue Film Society is recipient of a Trillium Grant to assist in the purchase of digital projection technology just in time to celebrate turning 100 years old!
  • 2014
    The cinema makes a push towards more community-focused, event-driven screenings and is awarded a second Trillium Grant in order to renovate the lobby and interior, restoring much of the building’s Edwardian and Art Deco charm.
  • 2017
    The Revue celebrates 10 years as a nonprofit cultural community organization.
  • 2018
    The readers of NOW Magazine voted the Revue Cinema Toronto's Best Independent Film Venue.
  • 2019
    The readers of NOW Magazine voted the Revue Cinema Toronto's Best Independent Film Venue... again!
  • 2020
    The readers of NOW Magazine voted the Revue Cinema Toronto's Best Independent Film Venue... and the second global pandemic in the cinema's history forces its doors to closed during Covid-19 shut downs.
  • 2022
    The Revue opens its doors after many pandemic related stops-and-starts, buoyed by generous support from community members.
  • Today
    Today, the Revue is still thriving as one of Toronto’s most beloved movie theatres. There’s a sense of irony attached to the Revue’s current mandate to advance the public’s appreciation of the film arts since it was an educational institution – a nearby school – that nearly kept the cinema from opening way back in 1912.

From the Vault

If you have any photos of the Revue you’d like to share with us, please send them to [board] @revuecinema.ca!