June 23, 2007

The Cumberland

The Cumberland is a 1980's-era (I would guess) multiplex located a block north of Bloor on Cumberland Street. It marks the northern-most point of the festival area, so allow extra time between films, especially if you're traveling from The Paramount, The Elgin, or Jackman Hall.

Oddly, many of my favorite TIFF moments have taken place at The Cumberland. It's where, in 2004, I saw Don McKellar introduce Cronenberg's The Brood. And in 2005 I sat seven or eight feet away from Tsai Ming-liang as he waxed nostalgic about the old Grace Chang film, The Wild, Wild Rose. I say "oddly" because, like most multiplexes of the era, The Cumberland has relatively small screens, cramped seats, and terrible sight lines. (Go for an aisle seat, especially if the film is subtitled.) Also, and maybe this is just me, but the Cumberland always feels humid or musty or something. It's an odd place, with four theaters spread over three stories like a labyrinth.

The Cumberland is more or less in Yorkville, a block away from the Four Seasons and other high-dollar hotels, making it a fun place to people watch (if you're into that sort of thing.)

Subway Stop: Bay
Rush & Ticket-Holder Lines: Form outside of the theater along Cumberland Street


J Robert said...

Yeah, the Cumberland isn't so great. But here's the one tip I'm nervous about posting, but oh well. Viva la camraderie.

Getting an aisle seat on the sides is, by far, the best place to sit at the Cumberland. And for some reason, those aren't the first seats taken. So even if you're somewhat back in line, those are often available. Everything else is horrible.

But as Darren mentions, the line outside the Cumberland is, by far, the most interesting people watching (with the possible exception of the Elgin). It's also the place where I consistently strike up the best conversations with total strangers. I'm not sure why.

Maya said...

How far a walk is the Cumberland from the Varsities?

Darren said...

I think it's about four or five blocks? The Cumberland is one block north of Bloor and three or four blocks west of Yonge.

Maya said...

Okay, aisle seats it is with a clothespin for the nose. Oh, okay, okay, no clothespin but definitely aisle seats.