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!