Cinesphere is the world's first permanent IMAX movie theatre, located on the grounds of Ontario Place in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Constructed in 1971, it is the largest IMAX theatre in Ontario. The theatre has both IMAX 70mm and IMAX with Laser projection systems. The theatre is considered a building of heritage value and shows movies each weekend. It is owned by the Government of Ontario, which owns the entire Ontario Place site.

Cinesphere's is a 35 metres (115 ft) wide triodetic-domed structure, akin to a geodesic dome, with a 62-foot (18.9 m) outer radius, and a 56-foot (17.1 m) inner radius, supported by prefabricated steel and aluminium alloy tubes.[4] Eberhard Zeidler, who also designed the "Pods" of Ontario Place, also designed Cinesphere. Its screen is 80 feet (24 m) wide by 60 feet (18 m) high. Its seating capacity was originally 752, but this was reduced after a renovation for 3D projection in 2011 to 614. The building is surrounded by a moat, and the entrance area is through doorways on the east side connected to the Ontario Place pod bridges and staircases to the Ontario Place West Island. Exiting is done through doorways leading to ramps over the moat to the West Island. The seating is stadium-style seating with no obstructions. The Cinesphere is wheelchair accessible.

Graeme Ferguson's North of Superior was the first film commissioned for and screened at Cinesphere at its May 1971 grand opening. In 1991, the sound system was upgraded adding digital capabilities. In 2011, the original projection system was replaced with an IMAX GT 3D system and new NEXIOS playback system. In celebration of its 40th Anniversary in 2011, the theatre closed for six months to undergo extensive renovations. On February 1, 2012, the Government of Ontario announced that Cinesphere would close while Ontario Place is under renovation. On July 31, 2014, the Government of Ontario announced plans to revitalize the area as an urban park with the Cinesphere and pods retained. During the renovations, the theatre was used as a testbed for IMAX's new laser projection system. In 2014, the Government of Ontario designated Cinesphere as a structure of Cultural Heritage Value.

In 2017, a new projection system "IMAX with Laser" was installed in addition to its 70mm film projector. In September 2017, Cinesphere temporarily re-opened for special screenings of Dunkirk (2017) and North of Superior (1971) as part of the 2017 Toronto International Film Festival.[5] In October 2017, the Government of Ontario announced that it would reopen as a permanent theatre.[6] It reopened on November 3, 2017.

Cinesphere is located in Toronto
Location of Cinesphere in Toronto
General information
TypeCinema (IMAX)
Address955 Lake Shore Boulevard West
Town or cityToronto, Ontario
Coordinates43°37′39.5″N 79°25′05.5″W / 43.627639°N 79.418194°W
OpenedMay 22, 1971
OwnerGovernment of Ontario
Design and construction
ArchitectEberhard Zeidler[1]
Architecture firmCraig Zeidler Strong
Renovating team
Renovating firmGow Hastings Architects[2] (2011 and 2017 interior renovations)
Other information
Seating capacity

Other details

  • Film format: 15 perforation 70 mm IMAX, IMAX with Laser
  • Sound formats: IMAX


See also


  1. ^ a b "Ontario Place Cinesphere and Pods and CN Tower receive 2017 Prix du XXe siècle". Royal Architectural Institute of Canada. April 25, 2017. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  2. ^ Gow Hastings
  3. ^ a b "Cinesphere - Ontario Place". Ontario Place. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  4. ^ "Ontario Place". Canadian Architect (May 2017): 68.
  5. ^ Grief, Amy. "TIFF is reopening the Ontario Place Cinesphere". BlogTO. Retrieved November 2, 2017.
  6. ^ Stevenson, Jane (October 26, 2017). "Toronto's Cinesphere reopening to public next month". Toronto Sun.

External links

1976 Toronto International Film Festival

The 1st Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) took place at Windsor Arms Hotel, Toronto, Ontario, Canada between October 18 and October 24, 1976. Initially its name was Festival of Festivals, which remained until 1994 after which it become Toronto International Film Festival. It showcased 127 feature films from 30 different countries with the audience of 35,000. It featured some of the best films from film festivals around the world. Most of the Hollywood studios later withdrew their submissions citing reason that Toronto audiences would be too parochial for their films. Cousin Cousine, a French film directed by Jean-Charles Tacchella was selected as the opening film and screened at Ontario Place Cinesphere and Queen of the Gypsies was the closing film. German cinema was focused upon, with films from German directors such as Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Wim Wenders and Werner Herzog.Producer Dino De Laurentiis, screened a 90-second preview of his then-unreleased King Kong at the festival.

Bathurst Street Theatre

The Randolph Theatre (formerly the Bathurst Street Theatre) is a theatre in Toronto, Ontario, that is housed in a former church. The Gothic revival building is located at 736 Bathurst Street at the intersection with Lennox Street. The 500-seat theatre is in the former church sanctuary, while the smaller 100-seat Annex Theatre is in an adjoining building at 730 Bathurst Street. The building is also home to the Randolph College for the Performing Arts, a performing arts school. The theatres are rented out to travelling shows and local theatre companies, as well as used for the school's productions.

CAA Theatre

The CAA Theatre, formerly the Panasonic Theatre, is a live theatre owned and operated by Mirvish Productions in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. On December 1, 2017, Mirvish Productions announced a marketing partnership with CAA South Central Ontario, which included renaming the venue that was known as the Panasonic Theatre.

Canadian Film Awards

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Massey Hall

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Massey Hall was designated a National Historic Site of Canada on June 15, 1981. The Hall was closed in July 2018, as it started a two-year-long renovation, including a new seven-storey addition and two smaller concert rooms.

North of Superior

North of Superior is a 1971 Canadian IMAX film directed by Graeme Ferguson. It is a travelogue of the area of Ontario, north of Lake Superior. It was commissioned for the then-new Ontario Place and was one of the first IMAX films made.

Designed to show off the large size screen and detail of IMAX images, the film continues to be shown in IMAX festivals, and has been exhibited internationally. It used extensive flying scenes that provide an in-flight effect that would become widely imitated in future IMAX films.

Ontario Place

Ontario Place is a park and former theme park in Toronto, Ontario. The grounds are located on the shore of Lake Ontario, south of Exhibition Place and southwest of Downtown Toronto. It opened on May 22, 1971 and consists of three artificially constructed landscaped islands.

The grounds are owned by the Government of Ontario and is administered as an agency of the Ontario Ministry of Tourism and Culture. It is planned for redevelopment by the City of Toronto since the closure of the theme park. Currently the site is home to the Budweiser Stage, a marina, and the geodesic dome that contains the Cinesphere, the world’s first IMAX theatre.

In early 2018, the Liberal government led by then-Premier Kathleen Wynne solicited proposals as to new purposes for Ontario Place, but those could not include condominiums or a casino. After the Progressive Conservative government led by Doug Ford was elected in June, an announcement was made of plans to dissolve the Ontario Place Corporation. This follows the province indicating interest in establishing a casino on the lands. In November, Finance Minister Vic Fedeli suggested that the government was open to considering a new purpose for the park, without the restrictions that had been set by the previous government.

Princess of Wales Theatre

The Princess of Wales Theatre is a 2,000-seat live theatre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. It is located on King Street West, in Toronto's downtown Entertainment District. The theatre's name has a triple meaning: it honours Diana, Princess of Wales, with whose consent the theatre was named; it links the building to its sister theatre, the Royal Alexandra, one block to the east, also named - with Royal assent - for a former Princess of Wales; and it recalls the Princess Theatre, Toronto's first "first-class legitimate" playhouse, that stood three blocks to the east until 1931.

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