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This incredible Canadian theatre is the last of its kind in the world

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Here’s a fun party fact for ya: Toronto’s Elgin and Winter Garden Theatre is the last functioning double-decker theatre in the entire world! Yes, kind of obscure. Yes, actually pretty cool. Stay tuned for more fun facts about this National Historic Site.

ELGIN AND WINTER GARDEN THEATRE

So, double-decker theatres are pretty much exactly what they sound like. There are two theatres constructed on top of each other in the same building, which is going to make more sense once you see pictures. We know imagining it is kinda hard. Think of Jenga but performance spaces.

elgin and winter garden theatre

Originally, they were intended for vaudeville acts. The peasants would watch shows in the lower section, and high society would watch performances in the nicer, higher-up section. Nothing to remind you that you’re at the bottom of society like literally being under all the rich people, right?

The theatre was opened in 1913 and designated a National Historic Site in 1982. Another fun fact for ya: four episodes of Late Night with Conan O’Brien have been taped here. Anotha one: it was featured in Academy Award Best Picture-winner The Shape of Water and gets a shoutout in the closing credits.
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Now, the theatre plays host to the Toronto International Film Festival, as well as musicals and Broadway shows. Last fun fact: when Cats came to town in the ’80s, it was the play that proved the theatre had an economically viable future. Meow!

You can also take a tour of the space to appreciate how easy on the eyes it is. The top level is decorated by a fairy wonderland, the bottom like a more traditional theatre. Real beaut! Nothing like a little Toronto appreciation, hey?

ELGIN AND WINTER GARDEN THEATRE

Where: 189 Yonge St