The Paradise Theatre is a surviving example of Toronto’s hallmark 20th-century theatres, complete with distinct Art Deco styling specific to the World War II era, with abstracted classical and geometrical elements.
Opened in 1937, the Paradise Theatre was designed by Benjamin Brown, one of the earliest Jewish architects in Toronto. Situated prominently between Dovercourt and Dufferin, the theatre has inherent value as an anchor building to this section of Bloor Street. To this day, the theatre is one of a collection of commercial buildings highly visible in the Dovercourt neighbourhood, along with the Bloor-Gladstone library.
As the heritage architects on the project, ERA worked to restore elements of the theatre lost over time, including the recreation of the Paradise blade sign and marquee. The reconstruction work was based on ERA’s careful analysis of historic photos and research into comparable theatre signs from the era.
The project team also reconstructed the historic stainless-steel box office and entrance doors after the originals were removed during previous alterations to the building. The reinstatement of these key Art Deco attributes, which were not specified in the heritage designation, as well as the inspired interior led by Solid Design, is a testament to the level of commitment the project team had to celebrating the original building and its heritage attributes.
Thanks to its careful conservation, and inclusive and accessible programming, Paradise is once again a space for the community to gather and celebrate. For more about Paradise visit paradiseonbloor.com
Photos: Nathan Cyprys
- Moray Tawse
- Ware Malcomb / Solid Design Creative / Pride Signs
- Adaptive Reuse, Accessibility & Additions/Building Conservation
- Commercial & Retail/Hospitality & Leisure
- Graeme Stewart/Jessie Grebenc
- Architectural Conservancy Ontario: Peter Stokes Restoration Award, 2020
- CAHP | ACECP: Award of Excellence: Conservation, Architecture, 2020
- Lieutenant Governor’s Ontario Heritage Award: Excellence in Conservation, 2020
- Heritage Toronto: Built Heritage Award for Craftmanship, 2021