June 14, 2013
The old Runnymede Theatre in Toronto. Now a bookstore.
So the kids went back to school this week. We had one week to adjust to Philippine time and heat. It wasn’t hard. We missed the Philippines so much that we dove right in to the time zone. Pinoy parents, how did your kids do with back-to-school?
It’s hard to believe summer’s over. We were away since March and just got back early June. Our stay was filled with big travel stories but it’s the little every day nothings that I fondly look back on. The trip wasn’t about just loving Toronto. It was simply about being home with my family. Glad that the kids love both homes equally.
I was going through thousands of photos in my library and found photos of the old Runnymede Theatre which is now Chapters bookstore. You’ll have to excuse me that I’ll be sharing Toronto stories and snippets of our family vacation every now and then. This blog serves as my diary too. Haha.
The urban planner in me always appreciates stories like this. It isn’t about fake development but about real organic neighbourhoods. Bloor West Village or BWV is the first mandatory business improvement district (or BIA, business improvement association). Meaning if you happen to be a business owner within the district, it is mandatory for you to pay a fee that will go towards improvements and marketing of the area. There is an elected board that represents the BIA. This is all recognized by the municipal government.
The Bloor West Village Business Improvement Association (BIA) was founded as the first of its kind in the world in 1970. The reason Bloor West did this was to improve and protect the area. When the subway line was created in the late 1960′s people had direct access to downtown shopping and malls in regional areas, bypassing Bloor West Village altogether. Now, 40 years later, the Bloor West Village neighbourhood has become a destination for many people. This model of protecting, marketing and improving local business communities spawned all over Toronto. In Metro Manila, I can see a model like this benefiting organic commercial neighbourhoods like Malate, Timog/Tomas Morato, Pasong Tamo Extension, Cubao Ex, Pioneer St area, Reposo Street.
We went to Bloor West Village on a rare warm weekend in May. It had been a very cold spring.
I love the unpretentious bakeries and cafes in this neighbourhood.
Brunch at Bread and Roses, one of High Park’s busiest bakeries. I had a yummy quiche with a huge dill pickle. They have wonderful cookies and cupcakes, meat pies, coffee.
My nephew had a cupcake with a Spiderman ring on it.
This was the old Runnymede Theatre on Bloor St West. It was built in the 1920′s as a vaudeville theatre. It was eventually converted into a movie theatre until it lost its relevance. It faced the possibility of demolition.
Instead of tearing down the old theatre, Chapters Indigo turned it into a book store.
Here’s what the stage looks like now.
It became the setting of the magazine racks and how-to books.
Beautiful space. I love it.
Much of the original structure was left in place. However the grand staircases were replaced by escalators.
The old projector is still on display, as are some old theatre seats.
Beautiful carved molding
Not everyone is happy with the changes at the theatre. But considering many old buildings have easily been torn down, I’m glad the old Runny is still there.
Most of it.
Check it out in 360.
Chapters Runnymede is at 225 Bloor Street West, Toronto.
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