December 6, 2020
The Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres are a pair of stacked theatres in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The Winter Garden Theatre is seven storeys above the Elgin Theatre.
They are the last surviving Edwardian stacked theatres in the world. The pair were originally built as the flagship of Marcus Loew’s theatre chain in 1913.
The Winter Garden Theatre opened upstairs in 1914. Decorated to resemble a rooftop garden in full bloom, its walls were hand-painted with garden scenes, its columns disguised as tree trunks and its ceiling and balcony soffit hung with an astonishing combination of real beech leaves, cotton blossoms and garden lanterns. For its restoration, over 5,000 real beech branches were harvested, preserved, painted and painstakingly woven into wire grids suspended from the theatre’s ceiling.
One of the Centre’s greatest treasures, discovered during the restoration, is the world’s largest collection of vaudeville scenery – hand-painted cloth flats and drops dating from 1913 to 1918. Several restored pieces, including the magnificent Butterfly Scenery and Scarab flats, are displayed at the Theatre Centre.