September 2018 - Toronto ON
I remembered when this became a Chapters which was a perfect location for a book store. BUT a Shoppers Drugmart? Sad.
Commonly known as the "Runny", the Runnymede was built by the Capitol (later Famous Players) as an atmospheric vaudeville theatre, the first of this type in Toronto. It officially opened in June 1927. The building was designed by Alfred Chapman, father of Chris Chapman, an accomplished Toronto filmmaker. Known for its music and stage shows, the large 1400-seat theatre, branded "Canada's Theatre Beautiful", quickly became popular and brought prestige to the west end of the city. As an atmospheric theatre, the interior of the Runnymede was designed to transport its guests to an exotic place.
I decided to step inside to see if anything remained and was surprised.
The painted blue sky ceiling was adorned with clouds, where a complex lighting system projected an array of stars and airplanes. The walls were decorated with a mural, which produced an illusion of being in a courtyard.
With the gradual death of vaudeville it was subsequently converted to a movie theatre in the late 1930s. In the early 1970s, the building became a bingo hall in order to capitalize on bingo's popularity. In 1980, the building reopened as a movie theatre again, featuring two screens. In 1990, the building was declared historic under the Ontario Heritage Act.
The movie theatre closed in February 1999 and You've Got Mail was the last film that was shown. Later that year, the building reopened as a Chapters bookstore, which closed in February 2014. In April 2015, the building reopened as a Shoppers Drug Mart.