July 9, 2007

The Varsity

The Cineplex Odeon Varsity Theater is located in the Manulife Centre at 55 Bloor Street West (one block west of the intersection of Bloor and Yonge). The TIFFG Box Office is on the north side of the building at street level; The Varsity is on the opposite end and one level up. The Manulife Centre is also home to a large Chapters bookstore and several small restaurants and coffee shops, so it's a decent place to kill time between films.

The Varsity is unique among TIFF venues in that the quality of viewing experience varies greatly from theater to theater. Varsity 1-6 are among my favorite screens at the festival. Each features stadium seating and fantastic projection and sound, but the rooms are a bit smaller and more intimate than those at The Paramount. Varsity 7 is a very small room with one level of seating. (If you ever went to a multiplex in a mall in the early-'80s, you'll remember theaters like Varsity 7 .) Due to its size, Varsity 8 often hosts high-demand films. It's a massive room with deep seats, limited leg room, and horrible sight lines. Subtitled films often send the audience's heads a-bobbin'.

Note: Ticket-holder lines begin near the theater lobby, but because of limited space there, they often continue down the back stairs and outside of the building onto Balmuto Street (on the east side of the building). Rush lines almost always begin outside, on the south end of Balmuto.

Subway Stop: Bloor-Yonge
Rush & Ticket-Holder Lines: Theater lobby and on east side of building (Balmuto Street)

[ View Larger Map ]