The article starts in the early 1800s when most theatre in Toronto was played in taverns, the performances considered amateurish by international standards, and the scene in desperate need of modernization and infrastructure to be internationally competitive.
|The Grand Opera House in Toronto|
(from the Canadian Illustrated News)
"Unlike today when going to the opera is going to the Opera with a capital-O, 150 years ago a night at the opera might also have included comics singing the popular songs of the day, musical interludes, poetry readings and novelty acts. It mixed together.... for an enjoyable night out that ended with a rousing chorus of Rule Britannia. The age of the Music Hall had arrived."
Sadly for the Grand, Toronto in the 1800s was prone to catching fire...read the full article here.
Side note to this side note:
The Grand Opera House was also home to one of the Canadian art world's greatest mysteries when its owner, theatre magnate Ambrose Small, went missing after depositing a cheque for $1 million in a nearby bank. The case caught the attention of mystery lovers around the world, including Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the very public investigation would reveal that Small kept a secret sex room at the Grand Opera House where he entertained his numerous mistresses. His Wikipedia page is definitely worth a read.
|A great shot of Yonge and Adelaide|
circa 1907 and 2010 from Toronto Before