The Pantages Theatre, the restored old Toronto theatre that was home to The Phantom of the Opera for many years, will be renamed The Canon Theatre in the latest example of corporate "naming" of theatres in North America.
Broadway has its American Airlines Theatre and its Ford Center for the Performing Arts, and, beginning Sept. 1, the former vaudeville house in Canada's major theatre town will have the name of the famed "provider of imaging, optical and document management technology and solutions" — or, if you prefer, maker of cameras and copiers.
Toronto theatrical producers David and Ed Mirvish announced June 27 that beginning with their tenancy Sept. 1, 2001, the house will be called The Canon Theatre as part of a long-term agreement with Canon Canada Inc. The theatre was built in 1920 as a vaudeville house named the Pantages, and would later become a cinema called the Imperial, and Imperial Six, operating into the 1980s. A restoration in 1987 (and the return to the Pantages name) followed. Impresario Garth Drabinsky and Livent took control of the theatre and sat Phantom down for a decade beginning in 1989, helping solidify the city's reputation as a major theatre destination.
The theatre connects Yonge and Victoria Streets just south of Dundas Street in downtown Toronto.
In a statement, David Mirvish said, "This is the first time we have worked with a corporation in such a major way." The Mirvishes own and operates two other theatres in Toronto — The Royal Alexandra and The Princess of Wales — and have also operated the venerable Old Vic in London, England, but this is their first major relationship with a corporation. The Canon Theatre will function as a legitimate live theatre house, the Mirvishes said. Saturday Night Fever is the first production to play the newly named Canon, Sept. 5-Oct. 14. Other major tours are expected there.
At the bottom of the press release for the re-naming announcement was the following sentence: "This Press Release was photocopied using Canon imageRUNNER 600."
Get more information about the Mirvish theatre empire at mirvish.com.
— By Kenneth Jones