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Writing with Light

Welcome to the Theatre….

One of the wonderful things about being a member of a photography club is the opportunity to shoot places that you wouldn’t normally have access to. One of these opportunities came about last month. I’m on the board of my club, The Toronto Digital Photography Club and I made mention that it would be great to be able to shoot at the Winter Garden Theatre here in Toronto. The answer came back…”that’s great Edith can you arrange an outing for us.”  So after months of coordinating with the management of the theatre we were able to schedule a date when the theatre was dark, for our members to come in and shoot.

The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre complex was built in 1913 as the Canadian flagship of the Marcus Loew’s theatre chain. It was built as a double-decker complex with the Winter Garden seven stories above the Elgin Theatre. It was originally known as the Loew’s Yonge Street Theatre.

The two theatres were so dramatically different in style (as you’ll see in the images that I’ll post over the next little while). The Elgin was the more traditional of the two theatres, filled with gold leaf,  rich fabrics and ornate opera boxes. The Winter Garden on the other hand was a botanical fantasy. The walls were painted to resemble a garden and its ceiling was adorned with branches, leaves and lanterns. “The theatres played host to such greats as George Burns and Gracie Allen, Sophie Tucker, Milton Berle and Edgar Bergen and Charlie McCarthy.”

With the decline of vaudeville the Winter Garden closed in 1928. The Elgin continued to function as a movie house but it continue to decline into disrepair with each passing decade. In 1981 the Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the building and in 1987 a $29 million restoration project began. The walls of the Winter Garden were painstakingly hand cleaned to avoid damaging the original hand painted watercolors. In 1989 the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre reopened and has once again become one of Canada’s finest theatre houses. Hits such as Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Rent, Tommy, Avenue Q has graced the stage and every year it now serves as one of the venues for gala screens for the Toronto International Film Festival.

Click on the image to enlarge (trust me it really looks better) or to Purchase a Print.

Theatre, Winter Garden theatre, Toronto, historical site, stage, balcony

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48 responses

  1. Wow! Edith, this is breathtaking! What a splendid place!

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    February 19, 2013 at 7:29 am

  2. Len

    Amazing place Edith. Love the grandeur of the building. Love it.

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    February 19, 2013 at 7:37 am

  3. Beautiful venue for sure! Really well captured here Edith! Love the soft gold and red tones!

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    February 19, 2013 at 7:48 am

  4. My thoughts are the same as those of the other three commenters.

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    February 19, 2013 at 8:04 am

  5. Beautiful place!!! Wonderful shot!!!

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    February 19, 2013 at 8:11 am

  6. What an amazing venue Edith!

    It’s like a feast for the eye 🙂

    Love the colors!

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 8:19 am

  7. As a member and the President of the Louisville Photographic Society I really enjoyed your comment about the value that being a member of a photography club gives. I find that being in the company of others who share my passion elevates my work and adds to the richness of life.

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 8:27 am

  8. That looks like a totally beautiful place to catch a show. I don’t think I’d even be able to focus on the stage with all that eye candy just in the building.

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    February 19, 2013 at 8:53 am

  9. LB

    That ceiling is amazing! (beautiful photograph)

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    February 19, 2013 at 8:57 am

  10. Beautiful shot Edith.

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 9:06 am

  11. Beautiful, excellent captured… 🙂

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    February 19, 2013 at 10:10 am

  12. My word that place is gorgeous! Kudos to you for thinking of it and setting up the shoot!

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    February 19, 2013 at 10:35 am

  13. Very n ice opportunity to get inside there and have a shoot. Your image is quite nice, Edith. A grand view from the balcony. I like the colors and tones of this as well.

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    February 19, 2013 at 10:36 am

  14. WOW! So beautiful… Thank you dear Edith Levy, love, nia

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 11:13 am

  15. Mark Summerfield

    What an amazing ceiling. Seems to help meld the seating area of the theatre into the stage, although that maybe more due to the current set that is on stage.

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 1:11 pm

    • Thanks mark. It is quite something. Actually there is no set at the moment (or when we were there), the theatre is dark as they say. What you’re seeing on stage is the fire curtain. Beautiful isn’t it?

      Like

      February 19, 2013 at 3:07 pm

  16. For the first time I understand the benefit of joining a photography club… I’ll look for a local one here to join also, I bet they get rare opportunities like this one also. Great image BTW 🙂

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 1:23 pm

    • Thanks Bashar. You know I really love being part of the club. We’re a group of like minded individuals and I’ve had the opportunity to shoot some places that I otherwise wouldn’t have had access to.

      Like

      February 19, 2013 at 3:08 pm

  17. That really is an extraordinary interior, Edith. Tremendous capture too.

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    February 19, 2013 at 2:56 pm

  18. Wow! Beautiful Edith!

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    February 19, 2013 at 4:07 pm

  19. Awesome, I bet you just fell in love with that 8-15 didnt you!

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 4:16 pm

  20. Very nice picture done with a fisheye, isn’t it? nice tonality, nice colour and very well done.
    Your remarks about joining a photo-club is well said and I am in a club and I like the opportunity.
    Thank you for sharing the photo.

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    • Thank you Gaston. yes I did use a fish-eye and I meant to say that. Tomorrow’s post will get into some of the equipment I used and the processing. I do enjoy being in the club. Thank you for taking the time to comment, I truly appreciate it.

      Like

      February 19, 2013 at 11:35 pm

  21. stacybutera

    What a cool shot and cool place. Thanks for a little piece of history there.

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 9:39 pm

  22. wonderfully done Edith!

    Like

    February 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

  23. Pingback: Let Me Entertain You…. « Edith Levy Photography

  24. I really enjoy the tones in this shot, Edith, just lovely! Great details, too, I love that old architecture!!

    Like

    February 21, 2013 at 5:17 pm

  25. Pingback: Back to the Theatre | Edith Levy Photography

  26. Pingback: The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre – Celebrating 100 Years | Edith Levy Photography

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