1115 Queen Street W, Toronto, ON M6J 3T4
Phone: (416) 534-9261
Last month, we stopped by this iconic building, which first opened it’s doors in 1909 as a Carnegie Library, to check out the Theatre Centre Café/Bar. And now we're back again, because since taking over the building 2 years ago, the Theatre Centre team has further transformed this Queen Street landmark into an inclusive community live-arts hub!
Access to the Theatre Centre is via a long and gently sloped ramp off Queen Street. The front entrance has two sets of double doors with each door measuring 36 inches wide. There is an automatic opener which only opens one door of each set. This entrance will take you into the Theatre Centre Café/Bar.
Down the hall from the Café, and through a 33 inch wide automatic door, is the BMO Incubator, a flexible performance space open for smaller shows and installations. The space has a lowered section that can be accessed by a ramp measuring 33 inches wide and 75 inches long.
To get to the main theatre space on the upper level, a wheelchair lift is available. The lift must be operated by theatre staff, and you can request to use it by asking any of the front of house staff. The lift itself is 34 inches wide and 62 inches long. Once upstairs, the lift opens into the upper lobby, which is a large and barrier free gallery space. At the top of the lift, an intercom can be used to contact staff for a lift back down.
The Franco Boni Theatre, named after the Theatre Centre’s current artistic director, has large double doors at the entrance. With architectural elements of the old library still present, this beautiful theatre can hold up to 196 patrons. The floor from the gallery into the theatre is flat and there are removable chairs without armrests which provide the option of accessible seating. Select performances throughout the year are also signed, audio described through a headset, and/or captioned. The risers can be moved, removed, or reconfigured depending on the show. This year, the Theatre Centre will play host to Toronto’s Long Winter Festival, where the risers will be completely removed for an interactive all-ages event full of art, music, food and dance.
The Theatre Centre is not only accessible to theatre-goers but also to performers! The backstage area features an accessible washroom, complete with wheel-in shower, a barrier free dressing room and green room.
An accessible single occupancy washroom is available on the Theatre level through a door off the upper lobby. This door is not automatic, but is often propped open during shows. The washroom door itself is automated and measures 35 inches wide. Inside, there is ample turning space, and grab bars to the left and behind the toilet. The sink is 31 inches high with clear space underneath and a single-lever fixture. The automated soap dispenser and paper towels are located at 32 and 38 inches from the floor respectively, and there is a change table in the room.
In the warmer weather, visitors can get outside and enjoy the sunshine (or an outdoor performance) on the Theatre Centre’s TD Green Roof. Half of the roof features a wooden deck to allow for outdoor accessible seating and the other portion of the roof is green space. There is a second lift off of the upper lobby to reach this level, as well as an intercom to reach the front of house staff if they are not readily available.
The Theatre Centre is about 3 kilometers west of the accessible Osgoode Station. The Queen Street streetcars have yet to be upgraded to the new, and accessible, models. Alternatively, the 29 Dufferin bus runs southbound to an accessible stop at King Street. For those preferring to arrive by car, there’s a Green P one block away at 110 Dovercourt Road, or a parking lot behind the Theatre Centre close to an accessible entrance at back of the building.
Thinking of heading to the Theatre Centre? Let us know what you thought in the comments below!