From the arrival of streaming services to a global pandemic, cinemas in Toronto have had a lot thrown their way, but they’re still standing strong after all these years. Sure, you can cozy on up on the couch and watch the latest releases on Netflix or Disney+, but it doesn’t get much better than watching a movie on the big screen with a gigantic box of popcorn in one hand and an XXL soda in the other.
Not only does Toronto host multiple world-renowned film festivals every year, but it has also provided the perfect backdrop for many filmmakers to shoot their movies in, so it’s no wonder that the city has its fair share of superb movie theaters on hand. For those loyal moviegoers who haven’t given up on the delights of the big screen, we’ve rounded up our favorite cinemas in Toronto to catch an indie flick or the latest Hollywood blockbuster in.
1. Revue Cinema, Roncesvalles
By screening a range of movies as well as hosting multi-cultural film festivals, Q&As, and panel discussions, Revue Cinema promises to bring Torontonians together with the power of shared experience. Known as the “Revue Series”, the cinema goes beyond the screen by hosting a range of events that encourage both movie critics as well as the average film buff to discuss and dissect the movies they’ve seen at the cinema. From Hollywood classics like Dirty Dancing to terrifying horror flicks such as The Wicker Man, a wide variety of films are up for being bashed or praised at these workshops that welcome movie lovers of every persuasion.
📽️400 Roncesvalles Ave, Toronto, ON M6R 2M9
2. Scotiabank Theatre, Downtown
Scotiabank Theatre is the go-to place for anyone wanting to spend a rainy afternoon watching a movie downtown. Located in the heart of the city, this movie theater has it all. At this cinematic haven, you’ll find an IMAX theater, six 3D screens and an UltraAVX screening room – a theater with a huge screen boasting the most powerful picture quality with stunningly crisp, lifelike detail. So, if you’re looking for the perfect spot to experience a sci-fi or fantasy film like never before, Scotiabank Theatre has all the state-of-the-art facilities you could ever wish for.
📽️ 259 Richmond St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3M6
3. TIFF Bell Lightbox, Wellington Place
TIFF Bell Lightbox is known as the epicenter of the Toronto International Film Festival so it comes as no surprise that it attracts movie enthusiasts from all around the world. Aside from screening the most notable Oscar and Canadian Screen Awards nominees and winners every year, this movie theater puts a spotlight on those who historically haven’t been represented on the big screen as much as they should. Black filmmakers, women in film and queer visionaries who work behind and in front of the camera are all celebrated here to give moviegoers a chance to hear stories and experiences they may never have heard before.
📽️350 King St W, Toronto, ON M5V 3X5
4. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema, University
Documentary lovers, this one’s for you. Hot Docs Ted Rogers Cinema’s arsenal is packed with docs galore. Music docs, docs about food, docs about Toronto, sports docs, docs about comedy. Whatever topic catches your attention or interest you have, this place will probably be screening a documentary about it. This cinema also puts on relaxed screenings for anyone who may benefit from a sensory friendly environment to watch a movie in. Lights are dimmed, no trailers are shown and audiences are free to move around or take a break whenever they need to.
📽️506 Bloor St W, Toronto, ON M5S 1Y3
5. Imagine Cinemas, Market Square & Carlton
Movie fans can expect to catch the latest releases at Imagine Cinemas. Think Marvel blockbusters and box-office hits starring Hollywood darlings including the likes of Leonardo DiCaprio, Jennifer Lawrence and Tom Hanks (or all three together). The smaller screening rooms and cozy seating make watching a movie here a more intimate experience to be shared with fellow movie lovers. An adult ticket costs $14.50, but the savvy money saving experts among us will know that all tickets for showings on a Tuesday will only set you back $9. With these affordable prices, this place is a great option to watch a movie with friends or take that special someone on a date without having to take out a small loan.
📽️80 Front St E, Toronto, ON M5E 1T4
📽️20 Carlton St., Toronto, ON M5B 2H5
6. The Royal, Palmerston-Little Italy
Unlike most of the modern movie theaters dotted all around Toronto, The Royal appeases the film buffs on the hunt for a sense of nostalgia. Built in 1939, the venue has undergone multiple reformations over the years but still manages to maintain a vintage feel thanks to its grand stage and red velvet curtain that keeps the enormous screen covered before the trailers roll. When its not hosting a theater production, movie screening or comedy festival, the venue is actually used as a post-production film studio. In fact, revered Canadian directors including Atom Egoyan and Deepa Mehta have rented the studio to work their film-making magic in. What better place to catch a movie than in a filmmakers paradise like this one?
📽️608 College St, Toronto, ON M6G 1B4