Also Known As: Bedford Theatre
The above photo of the Bedford Theatre (City of Toronto Archives, Series 1278, File 23, SC 612), was taken in 1926, likely the year it opened. Later renamed the Park, the theatre was located at 3291 Yonge Street, on the east side of the street, near Glenforest Road.
In the 19th century, the area had been a farming community to the north of the city, and a favourite stop-over for farmers hauling their produce to Toronto’s St. Lawrence Market. In the early decades of the 20th century, the area developed as a middle-class residential community, with mostly semi-detached houses. Eventually it possessed sufficient population to support a movie theatre. The Bedford Theatre was designed by Murray Brown, who was also the architect for the Belsize Theatre on Mount Pleasant Road, which survives to this day, although it has been renamed the Regent. The Bedford Theatre possessed Mediterranean style architecture, with a white stucco facade and terracotta tiles on the steeply-sloped roof.
In the early 1940s, the name of the theatre was changed to the Park, and operated by Famous Players Corporation. In 1948 the management of the Bedford was chastised by the authorities for holding a Thursday afternoon matinee without proper authorization. The following year, the theatre was again in trouble. It opened on a Sunday afternoon to allow actors to audition for an amateur production, which was against the law since Sunday openings were forbidden. The theatre argued that only 20 people were in the theatre at the time and no admission charge had been paid by those who attended. The matter was dropped.
On January 23, 1948 the theatre was robbed at gun point, but the thief was apprehended within fifteen minutes. The police arrested him in another theatre, where he had attempted to hide in the darkness amid the patrons. The same year, the theatre was extensively renovated, and in June of the following year, air-conditioning was installed.
In 1951, the theatre was again in trouble with the law as it allowed its Saturday evening screenings to extend past midnight. On one occasion, it was discovered that a film had ended at 12:45 a.m., a major offence. It seems that the theatre possessed a propensity for offending the provincial regulations.
After the theatre ceased screening films, it was employed for other commercial enterprises, but the walls and facade of the theatre remain.
Taylor, Doug. "The Bedford (Park Theatre, Toronto, on north Yonge St." Historic Toronto: Information on Toronto's History. tayloronhistory.com/2014/01/07/torontos-old-movie-theatresthe-bedford-park-theatre-on-north-yonge-st/