Griffin's Theatre


Error message

  • Deprecated function: Unparenthesized `a ? b : c ? d : e` is deprecated. Use either `(a ? b : c) ? d : e` or `a ? b : (c ? d : e)` in include_once() (line 1389 of /var/www/html/otra/includes/
  • Deprecated function: Unparenthesized `a ? b : c ? d : e` is deprecated. Use either `(a ? b : c) ? d : e` or `a ? b : (c ? d : e)` in include_once() (line 1389 of /var/www/html/otra/includes/
venue map legend

Venue Type & Location


Site Name: Unlocated site
Location: Chatham
County: Kent
Location Type: Town - multiple sites at uncertain locations


Address: 55 King St. West (Vernon 99)

Vernon, Henry. Vernon's City of Chatham street, Alphabetical, Business and Miscellaneous Directory for the Year 1918. Henry Vernon & Son, 1918.


Griffin's age, experience, and apparently deep pockets allowed him to operate a small chain of theaters right from the beginning. In June 1907 the Griffin Amusement Company was registered with the Ontario government, an official partnership with son, Peter. Employees and wages are listed with property tax assessments of head office begeinning in 1907. A year later John Griffin, president was assessed a wage of $1,000, a figure that fluctuated each year, but was never again that high. Although wages do not tell the whole story, simply defining the president's position as a waged employee of the company shows a certain degree of modern management and detached rationality in the operation of Griffin's company. 

Griffin worked to inegrate his theatoriums into Toronto's leisure traditions, rather than boast and exaggerate moviegoing as a break from the past. This was partly achieved by developing an increasingly stronger relation between Griffin and vaudeville, moving film to the sidelines of the show, in contrast to being the focus at the start. As a career showman, Griffin perhaps saw film as part of traditional amusements, rather than something entirely novel. [...]

The Griffin Amusement Company expanded rapidly and become the preeminent chain of moving picture shows throughout Ontario with business arrangements linking to chains of theaters in Michigan, Quebec, New England, and the Maritime Provinces. In Toronto, Griffin ran a maximum of eight theatoriums at a time, a total of eleven theaters at some point. Expansion outside the city began in St. Catherines and continued until at least thirty-four Griffin theaters straddled the province. (pp.86-90)

Moore, Paul S. Now Playing: Early Moviegoing and the Regulation of Fun. State University of New York Press, 2008.


Performer/Company at Griffin's Theatre

Performer/Company Patron Type # of events
Sarah Giboney Stock Company (-) Dramatic 1

Events at Griffin's Theatre

Event Date Venue Location Troupe
Dramatic - Chatham, Kent Sarah Giboney Stock Company