Toronto’s last adult entertainment theatre will soon reach back to its roots as an independent cinema, as two entrepreneurs try to give the Metro Theatre a new lease on life.
“I hope this will become the independent art house cinema in the west of Toronto,” said Jonathan Hlibka, who along with business partner Nadia Sandhu hopes to revitalize the 1930s-era theatre.
When Toronto’s appetite for porn in public gave way to VCRs, the theatre began its long decline. Most of the posters of scantily clad bodies lining the entrance of the theatre are faded, the marquee is missing a few light bulbs and there are no film titles displayed.
The Metro, as it’s known, has been on the real estate market for a decade, and is listed at $3.8 million.
The theatre will open to non-adult films around Aug. 24 with the Irish film Snap. The grand reopening will happen sometime in September.
“It’s going to be for hipster, university students and esthetes that are interested in global cinema and adults and downtown cosmopolitan types that are interested in cinema,” [Ryerson University professor Paul Moore] said. “And I don’t think that a downtown hipster kind of person is going to be that worried about this being a pornographic cinema in the afternoon.”
Adult films will continue to be shown at The Metro during the day, and cleaning up the grime-covered theatre will take work and the entrepreneurs’ own money.
The carpet will be ripped out and the seats re-covered, and there will be daily cleanings after the adult films let out.
“We’re coming up with a really detailed sterilization process,” Sandhu said.
However, the blood-red walls, gilded accents and crystal chandeliers will stay, as will the hand-painted Mary Poppins and Charlie Chaplin portraits — a counterpoint to posters of the porn industry’s biggest stars, including one signed by Ron Jeremy.