Don't worry, Toronto: The Cumberland Cinemas are safe.
Local cineastes and bloggers have been buzzing for the last couple of days about the Alliance Cumberland Cinemas miniplex, ever since Torontoist reported the downtown art house would be demolished to make way for a condo development. But it doesn't look like that's actually happening.
Movies are still being booked into the complex. James Marsh's highly anticipated documentary Man on Wire just opened there today - you can read NOW's review here - and contrary to the comments on the Torontoist page, the theatre will indeed be part of next month's Toronto International Film Festival, as it has been for the past two decades. And after TIFF wraps up, the cinemas will resume regular operations.
As far as I've bee n able to determine, this whole thing seems to be the result of a two-month old post on the website of the Greater Yorkville Residents Association, which stated - as part of a general update on development - that "[t]he theatre will be demolished to make way for a condominium. No Details other than that architect is David Pontarini."
Pontarini provides plenty of details, though, like this key point: "There is no formal application for demolition by us, or by our client," he said in a phone conversation yesterday.
The client, Pontarini explained, is not a developer but a real-estate agent who commissioned a feasibility study on the prospects for the property, which also includes 146 Bloor St. West, formerly the headquarters of Famous Players.
News of the study appears to have reached the Greater Yorkville Residents Association via broken telephone, which explains the development update. (The GYRA had not responded to a request for comment when this story was posted.)
"I can't believe how many calls I've had over the last two or three days about this," Pontrini said.
I can, though. The Cumberland may not be the most technologically accomplished cinema, or even the most comfortable, but it's one of the last remnants of the glory days of the Bloor Street cinema corridor.
The Uptown's gone, the Plaza Cinemas underneath the Hudson's Bay Centre are long shuttered, the University and the Towne are distant memories; given TIFF's inexorable move to their new digs at King and John, people are bound to worry about the future of the Cumberland as an independent venue.
It's good to know it's going to be with us for a while yet.