Runnymede Theatre

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The former Runnymede Theatre in 2008.

The Runnymede Theatre was a playhouse located in Bloor West Village, an affluent west end Toronto neighbourhood. In the late 1990s, it ceased its operations as a movie theatre to become a Chapters bookstore. Its original address, before Chapters' takeover, was 2223 Bloor Street West, at the southwest corner of Runnymede Road. The bookstore closed in February 2014 and Shoppers Drug Mart will move in.[1]


Commonly known as the "Runny", the Runnymede was built in June 1927 by the Capitol (later Famous Players) as an atmospheric vaudeville theatre, the first of this type in Toronto. It officially opened with a popular MGM comedy, The Rookies. The playhouse 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.[2] As an atmospheric theatre, the interior of the Runnymede was designed to transport its guests to an exotic place. 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.[3] The building discontinued to be used for plays and live entertainment with the gradual death of vaudeville, and was subsequently converted to a movie theatre sometime in the late 1930s. In 1990, the building was declared historic under the Ontario Heritage Act.[1]


  1. ^ a b Kopun, Francine (November 7, 2013). "Runnymede Chapters closing, with Shoppers Drug Mart moving into heritage premises". Toronto Star. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 
  2. ^ Serbert, John: "The 'Nabes': Toronto’s wonderful neighbourhood movie houses.", page 67. Mosaic Press, 2001
  3. ^ Hendley, Nate (December 24, 1998). "Run-in at the Runnymede". Eye Weekly. Retrieved November 8, 2013. 

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Coordinates: 43°39′03″N 79°28′36″W / 43.650730°N 79.476530°W / 43.650730; -79.476530