Bloor Hot Docs Cinema

Toronto, ON

Project Facts

  • Location

    Toronto, ON

  • Status

    Completed 2012

  • Size

    19,000 Sq. Ft.

  • Partner

  • Client 

    Blue Ice Group

The renovation of Bloor Hot Docs Cinema respects the grandeur and architectural details of the century-old building while fitting it out with improved theatre, lobby, and service space. To commemorate the cinema’s 1940's style when it was known as the Midtown, a large vertical marquee rises along its refurbished façade. Inside, a single 5.2 m x 2.5 m window pane enables open views from the street directly into the cinema, much as when the building first opened as a vaudeville theatre. Throughout, the spatial experience retains a classic film house feel through the design details.

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The Bloor Cinema opened its doors in 1913 under the name Madison Picture Palace, one of the first of its kind in Toronto. The renovation incorporates the theatre’s original colour scheme and seat fabric pattern. A poured-in-place concrete stage sits in the same place as the first wooden stage. Additional improvements include expanded modern washroom facilities and state-of-the-art projection and sound equipment. Today it serves as a year-round home for first-run Canadian and international documentaries, as well as special documentary presentations and showcases, including the popular Doc Soup screening series.

Project Facts

  • Location

    Toronto, ON

  • Status

    Completed 2012

  • Size

    19,000 Sq. Ft.

  • Partner

  • Client 

    Blue Ice Group

Select Awards

  • 2013 – City of Toronto Toronto Urban Design Awards, Award of Merit – Elements

"The new Bloor Hot Docs Cinema has been a resounding success, exceeding our projected levels of attendance and restoring the old theatre-feel of the original space. HPA has been an exemplar partner in the process of reviving this landmark."


—Neil Tabatznik,
Principal, Blue Ice Group
BloorHotDocksCinema Row1
"The new Bloor Hot Docs Cinema has been a resounding success, exceeding our projected levels of attendance and restoring the old theatre-feel of the original space. HPA has been an exemplar partner in the process of reviving this landmark."


—Neil Tabatznik,
Principal, Blue Ice Group
BloorHotDocksCinema Row2

The vertical marquee on the façade references the cinema’s 1940's style and acts as an attractor, re-establishing the Cinema as major destination along Bloor Street West

The vertical marquee on the façade references the cinema’s 1940's style and acts as an attractor, re-establishing the Cinema as major destination along Bloor Street West

BloorHotDocksCinema Row3A
BloorHotDocksCinema Row3B

Original colours and patterns from the 1940’s style film house were incorporated into the revamped, modern design to revive the theatre to its former glory.

BloorHotDocksCinema Row4A
BloorHotDocksCinema Row4B

Original colours and patterns from the 1940’s style film house were incorporated into the revamped, modern design to revive the theatre to its former glory.

BloorHotDocksCinema Row5

With a larger screen, a revitalized lobby and concession area, and major improvements to the screening area, this 710-seat venue celebrates the building’s history as an over 100-year-old cinema, while improving functionality.

With a larger screen, a revitalized lobby and concession area, and major improvements to the screening area, this 710-seat venue celebrates the building’s history as an over 100-year-old cinema, while improving functionality.

Select Awards

  • 2013 – City of Toronto Toronto Urban Design Awards, Award of Merit – Elements