Yonge and Queen Streets – Toronto, Canada
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre Centre recently celebrated its 100th anniversary! It was built in 1913 by Marcus Loew as the Canadian flagship for his growing chain of vaudeville houses. Fewer than a dozen double-decker theatres were built worldwide and Loew’s was the only one ever constructed in Canada. In the early years, the stages were graced by icons such as Irving Berlin, Milton Berle, George Burns, Gracie Allen, and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.
The Winter Garden closed in 1928 while the Elgin became one of Toronto’s premiere movie palaces but gradually slid into disrepair.
In 1981 the complex was purchased by the Ontario Heritage Trust and plans were developed to restore the building to its original splendor. In 1989, the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres re-opened and today, this National Historic Site is the last operating double-decker theatre in the world, with the majestic 1,500 seat Elgin Theatre on the main level and the magical 1,000 seat Winter Garden Theatre, seven stories above it.
Ross Petty Productions’ first Family Musical at the Elgin was ROBIN HOOD in 1996 and starred Karen Kain, Frank Augustyn and Ross Petty as the Sheriff of Nottingham…. the first of many of his trademark evil characters. Petty has brought some of Canada’s finest artists to the Elgin Theatre stage while creating one of the most happily anticipated Ontario family traditions.