Five reasons to love Carlton Cinema

Outdoors shot of Carlton Cinema sign and list of movies playing

Photo credit: Toronto Savvy

Carlton Cinema is a hidden gem tucked away between two dreary highrises in downtown Toronto (20 Carlton St, just east of Yonge St).  Having first opened in 1948, the Carlton has a long history in Toronto.  It was demolished in 1973, reopened in 1981, and refurbished when taken over by Edmonton-based Magic Lantern Theaters in 2010.  This is definitely not your modern cineplex with huge screens and shiny surfaces.  But what it lacks in modern touches, the Carlton makes up in spades with charm and nostalgia.

Here are five things to love about the Carlton:

  • Nine cozy cinemas with new projectors and comfy wide seats
  • A piano in the lobby that someone always seems to be playing
  • Prices can’t be beat – $10 for adults and $6 for children/seniors plus Tuesdays are $5 for everyone (yes, $5!)
  • Fully licensed so you can enjoy beer, wine and cocktails in the lobby and inside the theaters, plus the prices are reasonable with beer at $6.25-$7, cider $7.5, wine $9.50 for a big 9 ounce glass, and cocktails $5.75-$6.50 plus only $3.50 extra to make it a double
  • Features many first-run independent Canadian and international films, with some Hollywood blockbusters thrown in for good measure

As an added bonus, on February 22nd beginning at 7pm you can watch the Oscar’s live for free if you bring a non-perishable food item.  Great way to catch the awards if you don’t have cable tv or prefer to be surrounded a few dozen fellow cinephiles.

rows of seats and a screen in a small movie theatre

Photo credit: BlogTO


4 thoughts on “Five reasons to love Carlton Cinema

  1. I like that we have intimate movie theatres like Carlton Cinema in the city. I can’t remember the last movie I saw at Carlton Cinema. Granted, I don’t watch a lot of movies. I think that’s a good sign that I should pay it a visit soon. Love half-price Tuesdays!


      • Yes, I immediately felt nostalgic when I saw the headline to your post. I used to watch movies at Carlton Cinema quite regularly. Now, I usually go to The Varsity.


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