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Saying Goodbye to Chapters Runnymede – Hello Shoppers Drug Mart?

Aeryn Lynne

October 23rd, 1998 is a special date for me.  A little over fifteen years ago, I made some great friendships that helped me get through my first month of university at YorkU; particularly with this one guy that was 2 years my senior.  We were quick to become friends and decided to try out dating, which is how Pleasantville became more than just a movie for us that Friday night; and subsequently the Runnymede Theatre, which is where we chose to watch the film, will always be a place that we hold dear. That first date night was the start of a beautiful friendship, and that guy would later be known as TheHubs/Jay on Geek with Style.

Pleasantville - premiered on October 23rd, 1998. Jay and I saw this movie for our first date at the Runnymede Theatre.

Pleasantville – premiered on October 23rd, 1998. Jay and I saw this movie for our first date at the Runnymede Theatre.

When we found out that Runnymede Theatre was closing its doors early in our relationship, we were truly sad, even occasionally closer to devastated as we had some fond memories there and were fully expecting to make a lot more.  We fell in love with the theatre the moment we walked in.

Not much later though, TheHubs and I found out that it was turning into a Chapters, which sparked a little hope.

Chapters/Runnymede Theatre front facade.

Chapters/Runnymede Theatre front facade.

The idea of Bloor West Village’s little theatre fusing into a bookstore was exciting to hear when we learned that Chapters would work with the owners to keep a lot of the interior intact.  As much as we loved the theatre and even, to this day, wish that it was still there, we anticipated that the Chapters would be a great place to frequent too, and it was.

Lower floor of Chapters, you can see what was the balcony of the old theatre.

Lower floor of Chapters, you can see what was the balcony of the old theatre.

Unfortunately, after more than a decade of being part of the Bloor West Village family, Chapters closed it’s doors to the public one final time on February 16, 2014.  When their lease was up, Chapters had no choice but to move from their prominent corner on Bloor and Runnymede, because rent has become too high for their budget.

The Runny isn’t meant to be vacant though, and by this summer, Shoppers Drug Mart is expected to reopen the theatre’s doors.

What was once the Runny stage for an atmospheric vaudeville theatre in 1927, became the higher landing for magazines and bargain books at Chapters.  What will it be for Shoppers Drug Mart? The pharmacy perhaps?

What was once the Runny stage for an atmospheric vaudeville theatre in 1927, became the higher landing for magazines and bargain books at Chapters. What will it be for Shoppers Drug Mart? The pharmacy perhaps?

Old movie projector, and sitting area on the upper floor/balcony.

Old movie projector, and sitting area on the upper floor/balcony.

I’m personally having a harder time picturing a fusion between the theatre’s interior and what Shoppers Drug Mart stores tend to look like (all encompassing bright white,) but we’ve been ensured by SDM’s spokesperson Tammy Smitham, that “[SDM will be] preserving all components of the building that have historical relevance and character.”

There is also a question of the current Shoppers Drug Mart that is not far down the street already.  I’d imagine those doors will close, so what will take it’s place this summer?

When TheHubs and I walked around Chapters that one final time last Sunday, we overheard a couple conversations of Chapters wanting to stay in the area, and are looking for a new place to call home.  There’s a new shopping complex being built just north and a little to the east that might be a great place for there to be a bookstore, so there is some hope for those that made this Chapters their meeting place.

Will just have to keep an ear out for any news and see what comes next!

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Aeryn Lynne

The Geek at Geek Life
Living in Superman's Metropolis (aka Toronto, Canada), Aeryn Lynne found a way to entirely over-share everything she loves, and make a career out of it! Ultimately a geek, she waxes poetically over technology, fights for fashion-equality, squees over comic art, and literally sparkles, thanks to her makeup addiction.
Aeryn Lynne

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7 Comments on “Saying Goodbye to Chapters Runnymede – Hello Shoppers Drug Mart?

DeBalino
February 18, 2014 at 4:53 pm

That Chapters is unbelievable, and I am so sorry to hear that it will be replaced with the sterility of bright white lights… but here’s hoping they get creative and maintain some of that beauty reminiscent of your special theatre. (What a special and romantic story by the way :). Looking forward to your future posts of what comes to be of the Shopper’s Drug Mart.

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Craig Silva
February 18, 2014 at 8:48 pm

It’s great that they will be preserving the feel. I love what Chapters did.

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Little Miss Kate
February 18, 2014 at 9:06 pm

I hope they keep the some of the unique personality of the building, and don’t just create another cookie cutter store.

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Jenn
February 18, 2014 at 9:10 pm

I can totally relate! Dh and I went to the OLD LIVERPOOL House in pickering for our 1 year dating anni. It was a place I dreamed of going my entire life and when we went it was magical. A year later they closed down after being open 20+years. They reopened as a bar/club and it lost all its historical charm. At least we have our memories!

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jodi shaw
February 19, 2014 at 1:00 am

I am sorry to hear it’s closing, the beauty of the building is incredible but not as incredible as the memories you will cherish when watching that first movie that led to the love of your life. <3 here's to the memories!

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Jenna Em
February 19, 2014 at 7:52 am

It’s always sad when an old favourite closes down, so I sympathize with you. My hubby and I have a little joke that once we find a place that both of us truly love, that it closes down within 3 months.

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Deanna T. (@MapleLeafMommy)
February 19, 2014 at 9:59 am

So gorgeous. I’m sad I never wandered in their while it was a bookstore.

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