This past weekend was the final two days for The Cumberland Theatre, found at the heart of Toronto's Yorkville district. As we learned from media reports, The Cumberland, originally opened in July 1981, "had recently been renting the space on a month-to-month basis until the landlord terminated the lease, said Pat Marshall, Cineplex spokesperson" to the Toronto Star.
I visited the Cumberland on Saturday to watch a Hot Docs film and I won't lie, I got a little ferklempt walking into that box office and ascending that escalator one last time. The Cumberland has given me many great memories, often from festivals such as Hot Docs or the Toronto International Film Festival. They were...quaint. The Cumberland didn't have the flashy theatre add-ons found at the Scotiabank Theatre, but it often featured unusual and rare films, stuff you wouldn't see at the mega-plexes.
It's a shame to see another monumental Toronto site bite the dust, and doubt I'll be visiting the boutique shops rumoured to be replacing the theatre. I don't like Yorkville in general, it feels like the opposite of quaint, and I always regarded the Cumberland as a rare gem in the very tony area.
My friend says the seats at Cumberland are uncomfortable, good riddance. I disagree (the seats are decent, not amazing, but not horrible either) and I wouldn't dare wish a "good riddance" on a theatre that served Toronto's film-loving community so intimately for the past few decades.
Is this the impression Toronto wants to give the world? A world-class city closing its long-standing cinemas? Well, at least the Bloor got a much-needed makeover.