651 Yonge Street, Toronto, ON, Canada
The site of the 700-seat Panasonic Theatre at 651 Yonge St. - has a long history in Toronto entertainment. Originally a private residence built in 1911, it became a cinema, called "The Victory" in 1919. It changed its name in 1934 to "The Embassy" and, in the years since, has been known as "The Astor," "The Showcase," and "The Festival" (as which it was the premier venue of the Toronto International Film Festival in the 1970s). The Festival became a legitimate theatre in 1993 when it was renovated, renamed "The New Yorker Theatre," and re-opened with the Off Broadway production of Forever Plaid. In 2004-2005, the original building was demolished (only its facade preserved) and rebuilt from the ground up, as a new, state-of-the-art live theatre and concert venue. It re-opened as "The Panasonic Theatre" in June, 2005. In August, 2008, the theatre was purchased - along with the nearby Canon Theatre - by Mirvish Productions. The Panasonic is in the heart of downtown Toronto, within walking distance of the boutiques and galleries of Yorkville, the fashionable shopping of Bloor West and Church Street, the Royal Ontario Museum and the campus of University of Toronto.