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Photos: Celebrate 100 Years at the Elgin and Winter Garden Chandelier Gala

2013 marks the 100th birthday of two of Toronto's (and the world's) most gorgeous theatres, the Elgin and Wintergarden Theatres on Yonge Street. To celebrate, there is a gala performance next Monday night featuring some of the best and brightest of Toronto's theatrical past performing from many of the shows that have graced the stages of these two theatres.

Built in 1913, the theatres were the Canadian flagship of Marcus Lowe's theatre chain and are now the only remaining double decker theatre in the world (the Winter Garden Theatre is seven stories above the Elgin). Each theatre was designed with distinct differences, the Elginbeing mostly gold leaf and incredibly opulent, and the Winter Garden a botanical fantasy with hand painted walls and a ceiling that boasts real beech boughs and twinkle lights. They are remarkable in both design and execution - when you're sitting in the Winter Garden it's hard to fathom a theatre exists beneath you.

The Ontario Heritage Trust purchased the building in 1981, and has owned it ever since. The theatre had the most successful pre-sales theatrical event ever in Canada at the time when Cats opened, and in 1987 it had a two and a half year, $29 million restoration. Since it has been home to The Wizard of Oz, Aspects of Love, Kenneth Branagh's King Lear, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat, Napoleon, Tommy, Stomp, Rent, and more. It continues to present theatre and is also a TIFF venue.

While both theatre's host many diverse events throughout the year (the Twilight franchise even had their red carpet there), for many Torontonians they are first and foremost a Live Theatre venue. It is therefore fitting that the gala on Monday evening will showcase performances from many of the productions of its past. Included in that are Paul Nolan and cast members from the current Stratford Festival production of The Who's TOMMY, Adam Brazier, David Rogers, Stephanie Martin, Jewelle Blackman, Stephen Patterson, Sterling Jarvis, Arlene Duncan and Joe Sealy. Shows that will be featured include the new Canadian company of Cats and excepts from TOMMY, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Napoleon.

To get ready to say "Happy 100th" BWW is thrilled to bring readers some photos of the theatres throughout the past century (courtesy of the Ontario Heritage Trust)

For more details on the gala event or to purchase tickets, please call 1-855-622-2787 or visit

For more information on the Elgin and Winter Garden Theatres or to arrange a tour, please visit their official website at

Loew�s 1922 - Photo from the TTC Archives

The Amber-coloured Opalescent Glass Chandelier - Photo Credit: Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library

Loew's Marquee

Photo of the Elgin Theatre circa 1913

Photo of the Winter Garden Theatre circa 1914

Buck and Bubbles - A Classic Vaudeville Act - Photo by New York Public Library, Performing Arts Research Center Billy Rose Collection.

Outdoor Ticket Booth - Also Known as the Birdcage

Vaudville Backdrop - Photo by Alan Norsworthy

Elgin Theatre Yonge Street Entrance

Entrance Lobby of the Theatres

StaiNed Glass Window Doors in the lobby Entrance

Plaques Above Various Entrances - Photo by Ryan Raz

The Elgin Theatre today, seats 1, 561 - Photo by Peter Lusztyk

The Winter Garden Theatre today, seats 992 - Photo by David Dunn.

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