The Opera House is a unique and intimate venue still holding all the charm of its original 1900’s vaudeville theatre architecture. For the past 25 years this landmark facility in Toronto’s downtown core has been host to some of the biggest, original and unique concert & special events in the area. Concerts from the legendary grunge band Nirvana and controversial rap superstar Eminem to special events as diverse as Charity Fundraisers to Snowboard Movie Launches.
The Opera House boasts 12,000 square feet with spectacular views from the balcony. Over the original stage is a gorgeous 35-foot proscenium arch and all modern lighting and sound equipment to compliment any performance. Seating can be arranged as general admission; theatre or cabaret style and some catering facilities can be provided.
The Opera House can be booked for feature film shoots, videos, commercials and television productions, comedy acts, DJ’s and MC’s local and international, corporate, special and fund raising events.
FROM THE BEGINNING…
The Opera House is located in historic Riverside, 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 known 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.