CNE and Cinematographe

An exciting time at the CNE in 1896

Toronto. Cinema and Movies seem so passé these days of TV, streaming, and smartphones but over a century ago movies where the newest means of education and entertainment. The CNE was known as the “Toronto Industrial Exhibition” in those days and was the place to go to see the very latest ideas and inventions.

In 1896, the Lumiere Brothers latest movies and machines were on exhibit for all to see. What a marvellous time! This photograph is courtesy of the Ryerson University’s website. I noticed the Dreamland theatre in Barrie was mentioned as one of the province’s movie venues in a 1915 listing. The Dreamland moved to a building just south of the “five points” in Barrie around 1929 and closed forever about a decade later.

When I was a kid in grade 9 or 10, my dad took me to that long closed theatre. It had become a used goods ((junk) store known as Nipper Tuck’s. Nipper was said to live in the projection booth while the entire auditorium area was filled with junk he had collected over the years for future resale. The building was being cleared to house the new home of the local newspaper, the “Barrie Examiner”.

Since the 1930s/40s movies dwelt on the main street in three nearby movie houses. A fourth, a drive-in, opened post war in the town’s south west area. Since then, the excitement of 1896 and the Cinematographe of the Lumière brothers, has drifted into history and few regard “going to the movies” as a special event these days. With a population of over ten times its size when the Dreamland shut forever, Barrie has only half as many movie houses left (two).

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