The Metro seems to have closed some time in 2012 or 2013...Just keeping this page up for posterity.
In the time before VHS became ubiquitous, Yonge Street was a haven for porn theatres, strip clubs, sex shops, and all things adult. If you wanted to get your porn fix, you had to screw up your courage and make the trip down town to one of the many adult theatres. (and if I remember correctly, the laws were a lot more strict concerning what was considered descent to show in public).
Fast forward to today, strip clubs have definitely diminished in numbers. The Sex shops are no longer dingy unsavory places, but couples oriented boutiques.
Taking the biggest hit by far is definitely the adult theatres. Today, even going to the adult store to rent an adult DVD seems to be passe. Everyone has free unlimited porn accessible discreetly on their home computer. It seems almost unbelievable, but there are still some adult theatres in operation.
The largest and best known of the old classic porn theatre would have to be Metro Theatre. Built in 1939 on Bloor street West (just east of Christe Pits), Metro Theatre began it's life as a normal family theatre. It didn't`t begin it`s life as a porn theatre / burlesque show until 1978.
While it has tried other types of movies, it always seems to come back as a porn theatre.
Currently the metro seems to once again be trying to up it's game after a major renovation by showing porn's during the day, and art house films in the evenings. Unfortunately I'm not sure this is a viable solution. While there is a certain bohemian cachet to seeing an avantgarde film in such an interesting building, in reality the last thing you want to do on a date is reach down and find you have put your hand in some guys cum from an earlier showing.
The big question remains. In the age of free unlimited porn beamed into your house, who is still going to an old style porn theatre?
I have heard many ideas on the subject, but there are two that really make sense to me. The first group would be couples who go together, (straight or gay) who enjoy an audience for their forbidden romantic hookup.
The second idea is a little stranger. It has been suggested gay men will go to watch straight porn, and offer to give straight men oral sex during the movie. The idea is if the guys are so turned on, they don't care who is doing it... as long as they are watching women on screen.
The only problem I see with this theory is: why are the straight guys going to a porn theatre full of other guys in the first place?
No matter why people are going... they are. I really love the diversity Toronto has to offer, and wouldn't give up Metro Theatre for anything... so head on down to the Metro, and help keep them around by seeing a movie... I don't care if it's a porn or an art house movie.
See you there.
677 Bloor St W
Seating for 304 people
Including 4 handicapped spots