Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Blue Ice Group

Location Toronto, Ontario
Status Completed 2012
Size 19,000 sq.ft / 1,765 m²
Partner Siamak Hariri
“The new Bloor Hot Docs Cinema has been a resounding success, exceeding our projected levels of attendance and restoring the old theatre-feel of the original space. HPA has been an exemplar partner in the process of reviving this landmark.”

— Neil Tabatznik, Principal, Blue Ice Group

The renovation of Bloor Hot Docs Cinema respects the grandeur and architectural detail of the century-old building while fitting it out with improved theatre, lobby and service space. To commemorate the cinema’s 1940s style when it was known as the Midtown, a large vertical marquee rises along its refurbished façade. Inside, a single 5.2 m x 2.5 m window pane enables open views from the street directly into the cinema, much as when the building first opened as a vaudeville theatre. Throughout, the spatial experience retains a classic film house feel through the design details.

The Bloor Cinema opened its doors in 1913 under the name Madison Picture Palace, one of the first of its kind in Toronto. The renovation incorporates the theatre’s original colour scheme and seat fabric pattern. A poured-in-place concrete stage sits in the same place as the first wooden stage. Additional improvements include expanded modern washroom facilities and state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment. Today it serves as a year-round home for first-run Canadian and international documentaries, as well as special documentary presentations and showcases, including the popular Doc Soup screening series.