The building that once housed the historic Avon theatre on Ottawa St. N. was sold this week to a Toronto antique store owner.
That use is the likely future for the building and not the hoped-for new life as a theatre, according to the former owner.
The previous owner of the building, Dino Konstantindis, told CBC he is under the impression the new owner will open another antique store in it.
'The building itself is legendary. There’s a lot of nostalgia in this building and there’s a lot of history for the community.' - Patty Hayes, Ottawa St. BIA Executive Director
The new owner wasn’t available for comment, but Patty Hayes, executive director of the Ottawa Street Business Improvement Area, said the owner he will meet with contractors in the coming weeks to understand what his options are with the building.
Hayes said she’s excited about the purchase, and wants to see the building used in a way the community will benefit from.
“What the neighbourhood wants is a theatre, but I’m not sure that’s what we’re going to get,” she said. “The building itself is legendary. There’s a lot of nostalgia in this building and there’s a lot of history for the community with this building,” she said.
According to cinematreasures.org, the 770-seat Avalon theatre opened in 1941. It was later name the Avon theatre in 1969 and operated as a theatre until 1985 when its doors closed.
Konstantindis bought the theatre 23 years ago and ran a wholesale flooring business out of it. The business once operated as a storefront, but later became solely a warehouse space. The doors have been closed to the public for a number of years.
Original features in place
Konstantidis left much of the original theatre elements in place. Although he sold the theatre seats, the stage is still there. As is the original copper ceiling and the theatre marquee on the exterior of the building.
“The less I could tear out in the building the better it would be for the building,” said Konstantidis. The 75-year-old admitted he didn’t want to sell the building, but is retiring.
”What’s best for the neighbourhood is that the building gets a use that fits and matches with what Ottawa St. is trying to achieve,” said Hayes. ”It’s the ability for people to go into the space and reminisce. We see that vitality [for the neighbourhood] and that’s an important piece for our puzzle.”