In past blogs I’ve written about the Strand, the Pantages and the Empress–all theatres that once existed in downtown Vancouver, but have long since been turned into parking lots or cheaper, uninteresting buildings.
It’s hard to imagine that 100 years ago the Hastings Street area had a thriving theatre district, filled with opulent buildings, cafes and people, and known as the “Hastings Great White Way.”
I decided to take a look at the city directories from 100 years ago and take a stroll through Vancouver’s theatre district. Just look what we’ve done with the space.
In 1914 the National Theatre and the Columbia Theatre sat side by side at 58 and 64 West Hastings Street, just across from the Rex Theatre. The space is now a “developer ready” lot.
The Bijou Theatre sat at 333 Carrall Street just off Hastings Street. It was demolished in 1940. The photo (below) and the story of its life and death is at the Changing Vancouver blog.
In 1913, The Vancouver Opera House turned into the Orpheum Theatre and started showing vaudeville acts. The Orpheum (but not the one we have now) sat at the 700 block Granville Street. In the Leonard Frank photo below you can see the second Hotel Vancouver behind.
By 1935 the Orpheum had morphed into the Lyric and in 1969 it was a distant memory — demolished to make way for the Pacific Centre.
The Imperial Theatre was once part of a vibrant street scape along the 700-block Main.
The theatre is long gone and the two adjacent buildings on the corner of Main and Union and what’s now the Brickyard are likely soon to be replaced by another boxy glass condo building.
The Star Theatre was at 327 Main Street in 1914.
Murray Maisey’s slide show on Hastings Theatre
For more posts see: Our Missing Heritage
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