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Toronto's Scotiabank Theatre stares down giant, broken escalator

The Cineplex theatre's escalators have been out of service since early July.

Movie-goers climb the Scotiabank Theatre stairs.

Eduardo Lima / Metro

Movie-goers climb the Scotiabank Theatre stairs.

Toronto's most infamous escalator is broken again.

The four- to five-storey escalators at Scotiabank Theatre have been shut down since early July, forcing patrons at the John and Richmond cinema to scale the stairs or wait for the lone elevator.

This is a problem, because no right-minded movie-goer would climb 75 stairs just to see the Emoji Movie.

"Dear Cineplex, if you don't get your escalator fixed at Scotiabank, I’m just gonna go home and watch Netflix," tweeted local writer and director Mikey Gorman during the first week of the latest shutdown.

In an email to Metro, Cineplex spokesperson Sarah Van Lange explained that the two escalators were state-of-the-art when they were first installed almost two decades ago, but the theatre chain has "had challenges with them over the years."

Both escalators were out of service during TIFF 2016, becoming a major story as trade magazines like the Hollwood Reporter and international film critics noted the breakdown. The broken escalators even got their own parody Twitter account.

Van Lange said there won't be a sequel to that flop.

"Rest assured, the 'up' and the 'down' escalators will both be running for TIFF, with the replacement of the 'up' escalator scheduled for after the festival," she said.

Yes, the theatre is in the process of installing two new escalators to replace the old ones. They planned to do so in phases before and after TIFF to ensure there wasn't any disruption to the annual film fest. But the "up" escalator broke down a few weeks ago while they were working on the "down" escalator, meaning both are out of service.

"We apologize to our guests for the inconvenience and are doing everything we can at this point to accelerate the turnover of the 'down' escalator and the repairs to the 'up' escalator," added Van Lange.

Cineplex does not have a precise timeline, but repairs to the "up" escalator are expected to take a few weeks or so. Its replacement is coming in Spring 2018.

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