Sunday, June 29, 2014

Vintage Dance Hall: PALACE PIER - Toronto,Canada

A Guest Post by TVS Alum and Vintage Blogger - Liz from The Vintage Inn

Ontario has a rich history of dance halls in the 1920s to early 1960's. Palace Pier in Toronto was one of those gems.

The Palace Pier was originally conceived in the late 1920's to be a large amusement pier that was to rival the neighbouring "Sunnyside Pavilion". 

The pier was to project 1800 feet into Lake Ontario with a steamboat landing at the end. However financial difficulties and the depression stopped construction and only 300 feet of pier was created. 

For most of the 30's the Pier was vacant but on June 10th, 1941 the auditorium opened as The Strathcona Roller Rink, and then a short time later became The Queensway Ballroom in 1943. This reverted to the Palace Pier Dance Hall and would soon become a favorite destination for dancers.

Here is a picture of where the Pier was located (the left image) in Toronto.

Plans for the Pier before having to scrap almost everything (was to have had a bandstand, Theatre and "Palace of Fun" which I could only assume was rides).

The Big Bands

The Pier saw many Big Bands pass thru it's doors:

There is a story from Ernie Ince who was the General Manager for the Pier for many years that recalls the effect one Bandleader had on the audience "Lionel Hampton would work the crowd into a frenzy. He'd soak 3 suits in a performance and play louder and faster as the night moved along" ("Let's Dance" by Peter Young, pg 13).

The Pier's heyday was the mid-40's and into the mid-50's with the 50's seeing a renovation that had the Palace Pier boosting about having one of the largest dance floors around. 3 tiers were built with balconies surrounding the dance floor so that everyone could see the action on the dance floor ("Let's Dance" by Peter Young, pg 13). CBC Radio even did live Radio broadcasts from the Pier over the years.

Changing with the Times

By the mid-50's the Pier had to change direction to keep alive so they started booking country acts like Patsy Cline and Johnny Cash which ended up being very successful ("Let's Dance" by Peter Young, pg 15). Also during the week they would book Bingos, Boxing matches, political rallies, proms and such to help pay the bills to get them to the weekend where they were still seeing around 1000 attendees coming out to celebrate music and dance.

The End

Sadly on January 7th, 1963 in the early morning there was a fire at the Pier and everything was completely destroyed and due to declining popularity it only made sense to not rebuild and sell the property. Condos were then eventually built on the spot where the hall stood (the Palace Pier Condos).


The building may not be standing anymore but you can still pay a visit to the monument on the Waterfront Trail at the Foot of the Palace Pier Court (it's just west of the mouth of the Humber River. Walk over the bridge and keep going till you see the monument).

Interesting fact: The base of the monument are the original concrete pier footings.

Have you been to this plaque in Toronto? 
Did you dance at the Palace Pier when it was around? 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Your VINTAGE CANADA DAY and WORLD PRIDE WEEKEND Roundup! June 26th – July 1st!

There is so much to celebrate this long weekend!

First off it's the CANADA DAY long weekend!  For our International readers I don't think I need to explain how fiercely proud we Canadians can be!  We embrace the modern but also look to our past....especially here in Toronto!

On top of our nation's birthday, Toronto is the host city for World Pride 2014! This is the first time World Pride has come to North America! Our yearly pride celebrations are revered throughout the world and it is no surprise that our Canadian/Torontonian nature of acceptance would bring this important World Pride celebration to our city.  

Wherever you are this weekend...send some well wishes our way...for Canada's sweet 147th birthday and for World Pride - acceptance and love for all!

For the rest of us here...there just isn't enough time in a long weekend to handle all this goodness........

      All day - WorldPride 2014 - Toronto CELEBRATIONS
      All day – Toronto Jazz Festival
      6.3p – Pride Walk: Toronto’s LGBTQ Heritage starting at AIDS Memorial in Cawthra Park Sq
      7pm – Dancing on the Pier at Harbourfront Centre
      8pm – Movies in St James Park: Priscilla Queen of the Desert and Drag Show
      8pm – Hell Bent Rockers (trio) at Lucy Brock
      8pm –Live Blues and Dancing at Monarchs Pub
      9pm – Throwback Thursday 80s Retro Party at Adelaide Hall
      10pm – Tiki Thursday at Sweaty Betty’s


      All day – Toronto Jazz Festival 
      2pm – Pride Walk: Toronto’s LGBTQ Heritage starting at  AIDS Memorial in Cawthra Park Sq
      5pm - Ronnie Hayward at Castro's Lounge
      6pm - Rockabilly with DJ Catwoman, 100.3FM
      9pm – Toronto Blues Dances : DJ Battle Showdown at The Hive
      9pm – Chronologic Takes the Island at Island cafe
      9pm - Record Party at Castro's Lounge
      9pm – Hellbound Hepcats at The Dakota Tavern
      10pm – Shindig! Beach Party at The Piston 


      All day - World Pride PARADE and CELEBRATIONS
      All day – Toronto Jazz Festival
      1pm – Lindy Hop Revolution at Harbourfront Centre
      3pm - Vinyl from the Crypt 89.5FM
      4pm - Ronnie Hayward at Mcqueen's pub
      4pm - Happy Pals at Grossman's Tavern
      4.3p – Big Rude Jake at Castro’s Lounge
      7pm – Saturday Night Swing: Toronto Lindy Hop Canada Day Themed Night at Dovercourt House
      9pm – Oldies Dance at Legends on Queensway
      10pm - Shake, Rattle and Roll with Bangs & Blush at Clintons
      10pm - Shake-A-Tail at Sneaky Dee's
      10pm – PANIC: Retro Pride Party at Velvet Underground
      10pm – Goin' Steady DJs: Final Party at The Great Hall


      All day – Toronto Jazz Festival
      6am - Sunday Antique Market at St Lawrence Market
      4pm - New Orleans Connection All Stars at Grossman's Tavern
      9pm - Watch This Sound at Castro's Lounge
      9pm - Sinful Sundays at Cherry Cola's


      7.3p - Big Band Night at Seven44 Restaurant & Lounge
      9pm - Rockabilly Mondays with The Cosmotones at Castro's Lounge (still running?)
      10pm - Manic Mondays at The Dance Cave


      10am - Heritage Antique Market at Centrepoint Mall

As always...please forward on any other event information!

#myvintageTO #TorontVintageSociety #Toronto #TO #WorldPride2014#vintage #retro #antiques #40s #50s #60s #80s #rockabilly #jazz #bigband#surf #soul #RocknRoll #mod #tiki #danceparty #swingtoronto #TLH#lindyhop #bluesdance #oldiesdance

Monday, June 23, 2014

A Summer of Movies Under the Stars!

Toronto has one drive in theatre...and it lacks the lustre or the imagery we all have of parking on a lawn and watching a movie under the stars!

To make up for it...every summer a series of parks and venues have been playing classic/retro films outdoors! 
Not everything featured is considered classic/retro...but you can make it (as with everything) as vintage as you want!  So grab your blankets and picnic baskets and head out to watch some movies under the stars! 

Let's GO - East to West!

Movies in the Park - Riverdale Park East

Here are the dates but not all the movies have been announced, keep checking their website for updates!

  • Sunday July 13 - King Kong vs Godzilla
  • Sunday July 27
  • Sunday August 3
  • Sunday August 17

East Lynn Park (Danforth/Woodbine)

  • Thursday July 17th:  Indiana Jones and The Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

Under The Stars - Regent Park Film Festival

  • Wed, June 18: Omar, co-presented with Toronto International Film Festival
  • Wed, June 25: Empire of Dirt, co-presented with imagineNative Media + Arts Festival
  • Wed, July 2: Kidnapped for Christ, co-presented with Inside Out Film Festival
  • Wed, July 9: Linsanity, co-presented with Toronto Reel Asian International Film Festival
  • Wed, July 16: Blood Brother, co-presented with Open Roof Fest and Toronto Youth Shorts
  • Wed, July 23: The Lunchbox, co-presented with Diaspora Film Festival
  • Wed, July 30: Luv, co-presented with CityLife Film Project
  • Wed, August 6: Short Term 12, co-presented with Rendezvous With Madness Film Festival
  • Wed, August 13: Mooz-Lum, co-presented with ReelWorld Film Festival
  • Wed, August 20: Made in America, co-presented with Manifesto

  • June 25: Marry Poppins (1964)
  • Fri, July 11: Captain America
  • Fri, July 25: Sister Act
  • Fri, August 8: Alfred Hitchcock's - I Confess (1953)
  • Fri, August 22: Lego Movie

Sail In Cinema (Sugar Beach/Port Authority)

  • Movies TBC - VOTING is on NOW.  There are lots of great classics so please do vote!

  • June 26: The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert + free drag show
  • Mon, July 21: The Lego Movie
  • Thurs, August 28: TBD

City Cinema - Yonge and Dundas Square

  • June 24: To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar
  • Tues, July 8:  Trainspotting
  • Tues, July 15: National Lampoon's Vacation
  • Tues, July 22: Little Miss Sunshine
  • Tues, July 29: Almost Famous
  • Tues, August 5 : The Italian Job (1969)

TIFF in the Park - King and Simcoe

  • Wed, July 2: Waiting for Guffman
  • Wed, July 9: 20 Feet from Stardom
  • Wed, July 16: Billy Elliot
  • Wed, July 23: Searching for Sugar Man
  • Wed, July 30: Sunset Boulevard (1950)
  • Wed, August 6: Pina
  • Wed, August 13: A Star Is Born
  • Wed, August 20: Who Framed Roger Rabbit? (1988)
  • Wed, August 27: Pitch Perfect

Free Flicks - Harbourfront Theatre

  • Wed, July 2: Mean Girls
  • Wed, July 9: Bend it Like Beckham
  • Wed, July 16: Clueless
  • Wed, July 23: Caramel
  • Wed, July 30: Desk Set
  • Wed, August 6: Kissing Jessica Stein
  • Wed, August 13: In a World...
  • Wed, August 20: Funny Girl (1968)

Cultura Festival - Mel Lastman Square

Here are the dates but not all the movies have been announced, keep checking their website for updates!

  • Fri, July 4
  • Fri, July 11
  • Fri, July 18
  • Fri, July 25

Open Roof Festival (99 Sudbury, $15)

  • Thurs, June 19: Enemy
  • Thurs, June 25: The Grand Budapest Hotel
  • Thurs, July 3: Bad Words
  • Thurs, July 10: Locke
  • Thurs, July 17: Frank
  • Thurs, July 24: Ping Pong Summer
  • Thurs, July 31: 20 Feet from Stardom
  • Thurs, August 7: The Grand Seduction

Christie Pits Film Festival

  • Sun, July 6: A League Of Their Own
  • Sun, July 13: Les Vacances De Monsieur Hulot
  • Sun, July 20: Stand By Me (1986 does 1959)
  • Sun, July 27: Rear Window (1954)
  • Sun, August 3: Twister
  • Sun, August 10: Moonrise Kingdom, Record, Echo Beach

The movies have not been announced, keep checking their website for updates!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Your VINTAGE WEEKEND Roundup! June 19th – 22nd!

My aren't we lucky.....!

      6pm – Hookerson-Blough Auction at mrs. huizenga
      6pm – Toronto Jazz Festival: multiple locations
      8pm – Denielle Bassels at La Revolucion
      8pm – Hell Bent Rockers at Lucy Brock
      8pm – Toronto Blues Dances : Blues Battle at Monarchs Pub

      5pm – TO Jazz Fest : multiple locations
      5pm - Ronnie Hayward at Castro's Lounge
      6pm - Rockabilly with DJ Catwoman, 100.3FM
      7.3p - Toronto Swing Dance Society : Friday Night Dance at Lithuanian House
      9pm - Record Party at @Castro's Lounge

      12p – TO 
Jazz Fest: multiple locations
      2pm – Trailer Park Picnic at Doll Factory by Damzels
      3pm - Vinyl from the Crypt 89.5FM
      4pm - Ronnie Hayward at Mcqueen's pub
      4pm - Happy Pals at Grossmans Tavern
      5pm – Junction Jubilee: Summer Sosltice Parade and Picnic starting atSMASH!
      6pm – The Canadian Pin Up Show: Burlesque Show at Revival Bar
      7pm – Saturday Night Swing and Blues : Midsummer’s Eve Double Deck at Dovercourt         House
      9pm – Oldies Dance at Legends on Queensway
      9.3p – RetroRoadShow at Dovercourt House
      10pm - Shake, Rattle and Roll with Bangs & Blush at Clintons
      10pm - Shake-A-Tail at Sneaky Dee's

      6am - Sunday Antique Market at St Lawrence Market
      10am – Heritage Antique Market at Cloverdale Mall
      11am - Rockabilly Brunch at Dominion On Queen
      11.3a – Canadian Pin Up Safari starting at Toronto School of Burlesque
      12pm – TD Jazz Fest: multiple locations
      12pm – Gatsby Garden Party at Spadina Museum: Historic House & Gardens
      12:30 – Mike Malihini and his Hawaiinaires at Cadillac Lounge
      3pm - Canadian Pin Up Show Cuppa Tease: High Tea and Burlesque atROUND venue
      4pm - New Orleans Connection All Stars at Grossman's Tavern
      9pm - Watch This Sound at Castro's Lounge
      9pm - Sinful Sundays at Cherry Cola's

As always...please forward on any other event information!

#myvintageTO #TorontVintageSociety #Toronto #TO #vintage #retro#antiques #40s #50s #60s #rockabilly #pinup #jazz #bigband #surf #soul#RocknRoll #mod #tiki #danceparty #swingtoronto #TLH #lindyhop#burlesque #cabaret #brunch #shopping #summertime #tiki #bluesdance #oldiesdance #solstice