The abandoned theater
The abandoned theater

The abandoned theater

The abandoned theater

From silent film to vaudeville

Montréal (Quebec), Canada

This is the story of a rehabilitation project who won't die. A long path of a non-profit organization that has been fighting for three years to find the funds for the renovation of a theater that is part of the cultural landscape of Montreal since 1927. Closed in 1992 following a fire, building has no longer its former glory, except his front Egyptian motifs.

We must say that since its opening May 19, 1927, the building has undergone several metamorphoses, some more horrible than others. If in the beginning, its vocation was to present vaudeville theater and silent films, it has repeatedly been renovated to meet the needs of its many owners and new technologies.

Indeed, it remains very few elements of its original architecture inside. Some Egyptian motifs here and there, but most of them have been ravaged by time and flames. For the rest, one of the former owners has (savagely) transformed the interior  to build a second theater.

But to better understand the current drift of the monument, let's go back in time.

We are in 1939 and, following the closure of the theater by its first owner, places briefly become a cabaret. In 1962, the Royal Follies settled there, specializing in dinner theaters. A part of a wall upstairs recalling that time is also always present. Today, the graffiti cover a large majority of the wall which itself covered the original patterns.

In 1968, the building returns to its cinematographic vocation and the interior is refurbished to divide the large room into two. Three successive owners will manage the movie theatre. A fire in 1992 will end this cinematic adventure.

Some groups will try to revive the theater, but their attempts are doomed to failure. It was not until 2012 that a non-profit organization comes to propose a project mixing theaters, exhibition place, coffee lounge and conference space for the city to accept this final attempt to save the nearly century-old building. The project is ambitious and requires over $ 12 million to rehabilitate the site. If several extensions were granted to the organization to complete the financing package where 84% of the necessary funds have been raised, time is running out for this place. Already, at various meetings of the Borough Council, several industry people seem to believe that the time has come to sell the building to see it replaced by condos. By then, a reprieve of a few months has been offered by the organization to find the missing 2.5 million.

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