Palace Theatre

137 King Street E,
Hamilton, ON L8N

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Showing 26 - 50 of 57 comments

mortonbg on February 29, 2008 at 7:13 am

Well Joe Buttinski’s the bar that most recently occupied the Capitol Theatre’s lobby has gone out of business this past few months. I remember that Grapes and Things lasted somewhat longer.

The Palace was regularly used for Stage shows.. (HTI used to do musicals there in the 50’s and 60’s)… The feeling was that the big theatres had had their day. Jackson Square cinema hadn’t opened in 1973 but the Odeon 2 right across the street was the death of the Palace.

The parking lots where both auditoriums stood must have made some money over the years

schmadrian on February 29, 2008 at 6:16 am

Actually, I rather doubt that Hamilton Place (live entertainment) had much to do with their (movies) demise. The Jackson Square cinemas (initially operated by Famous Players), perhaps. But at the time, the downtown was in fact over-screened, all things considered, and the landscape was changing.

I have a small pet project I’ve been wanting to get around to: finding out just how ‘profitable’ the businesses have been that went into the locations where the Capitol and the Palace existed. I rather doubt much revenue has been generated by either over the ensuing 35+ years. Sad, really.

mortonbg on February 28, 2008 at 10:17 pm

Also the Downtown, the Grenada, the Grand Theatre and the Grand Opera House were all the same theatre. This can be confirmed by photos at the Hamilton Public Library special collections on the third floor.

mortonbg on February 28, 2008 at 10:15 pm

The Capitol and Place were built four years apart (1917 and 1921)..
Both were designed by Thomas Lamb, who designed thousands of theatres across Britain and North America. There is a section on him in John Lindsey’s book TURN OUT THE STARS BEFORE LEAVING, also in the book about the Elgin and Wintergarden. The recently demolished Uptown in Toronto was another of his theatres, as was the Capitol in Ottawa.
Lamb designed theatres for many of the vaudeville chains including BF Kieth, Alexander Pantages and Marcus Loews. He had an office in NYC and took commissions from whoever had the ability to pay him.

Sadly both the the Capitol and Palace ended up being owned by the same company that demolished them both in 1973 when Hamilton Place opened.

mrchangeover on February 3, 2008 at 5:53 pm

I thought it was a bit odd too.
However it looks like Thomas Lamb made a career of building theatres for different chains close together in Canadian cities.
I found three examples.
The Capitol in Hamilton was originally the Loews which competed with Pantages.
In Toronto he designed the Pantages and the Loews/Winter Garden just down the street.
In Montreal he designed the Loews and the Capitol (Famous Players) which were very close to each other on Ste Catherine Street.
I’m sure there are more examples in U-S cities.
He sure made his mark.

schmadrian on February 3, 2008 at 4:46 pm

Yeah, I saw the mention in Brian’s post.

I was wanting to confirm that both the Capitol and Palace were Lamb designs. A friend and I were trying to figure out the time-line that allowed two Lamb buildings to be built a block apart, by presumably competing chains.

There doesn’t seem to be any Lamb biography out there…and there’s a dearth of general resources about Lamb, specifically what he designed, and where.

mrchangeover on February 3, 2008 at 4:25 pm


On page 47 of John Lindsay’s book “ Palaces of the Night”, he mentions that Thomas Lamb was the architect for the Pantages in Hamilton. It was later re-named the Palace.
He also mentions( as Brian has posted above) that the Pantages/Palace “ bore a strong resemblance to the Capitols in Windsor and Winnipeg and all three owed something in their design to the Capitol in Brantford.”

schmadrian on February 2, 2008 at 7:42 pm

Can anyone confirm that this was a Thomas Lamb theatre?

mrchangeover on May 30, 2007 at 7:13 pm

Getting back to the Palace…..I was recently in the Ontario Archives building in Toronto and found some great interior photos of the Palace. I did not get them reproduced because I was on a mission to get some stuff on the Odeon Carlton in Toronto. There is a great shot of the auditorium from the stage.
If anyone has some time to kill in Toronto its worth a look through the old Ontario Theatres photo file. There are also some photos on the net under Ontario Archives at:
View link

mrchangeover on October 19, 2005 at 3:22 am

hamiltonmark: Thanks. I saw the postcard with the terminal building showing the Savoy yesterday. Thats when I knew I had it wrong. The library researcher (and what you posted on the Tivoli site) said the Downtown was the old Grand Opera House and Granada. Its been over 40 years since I was in the place so my recollections are a bit fuzzy. I would sure like to see a photo of the Grand or Granada before it was the Downtown.

hamiltonmark on October 18, 2005 at 7:57 pm

mjc. It was the Bennett theatre that was next to the terminal building off King street not the Temple. Sorry about that. Both these building where torn down to make room for the building that now sits on the site. Check out the post cards and let me know. Mark

hamiltonmark on October 18, 2005 at 7:46 pm

mjc. if you go to and search the post cards. click on “t” and then theatres you will find a picture of the Savoy Theatre next to the Hotal Stoud on Merrick Street off McNab Street. There is also postcards showing the Temple theatre which is next to the terminal building. This theatre is not listed. All have been demonished. the Temple I believe was off King Street. is this of any help. Mark

mrchangeover on October 18, 2005 at 4:05 am

I have just been looking at two other pieces of information..the Pringle Papers and World Theatres..and they both refer to the Savoy as being on Merrick Street.It was pulled down in 1955. The World Theatres page also lists the Downtown as a separate movie theatre at 102 James St.
Still confused.

mrchangeover on October 18, 2005 at 3:45 am

Hamilton Mark:
I think I can now answer my own question about the Downtown Theatre. I have been looking through John C Lindsay’s book on movie theatres in Canada (Palace’s of the night) and there is an interior shot of the old Savoy. Thats exactly how I remember the stage of the Downtown.

mrchangeover on October 18, 2005 at 3:42 am

It does not look like the entrance to the Palace on King Street. There were other buildings adjacent to the Palace entrance, which was much bigger, with no space in between. Your building looks like it is on a corner. Also your picture has some buildings at right angles which would not jibe with King Street.
Maybe this is a neighbourhood theatre in the west end…or the old CHCH building which used to be a theatre?

dougp on October 17, 2005 at 9:39 pm

I have a photo from an elderly lady whose father boarded in Ontario with my grandfather’s stepmother and half-siblings. Since one of my grandfather’s half-brothers ran a drugstore in Hamilton for many years, I’m wondering whether the photo is in front of the Palace Theatre discussed on this Web site. The words “The Pa” are visible in a window next to the box office, and admission prices are visible. This is a total long shot, but if anyone would care to take a look, the photo is here:

View link


mrchangeover on January 1, 2005 at 2:21 pm

Mark:I checked out the sites you have mentioned.Maybe these comments should be on the Granada site but neither of the theatres are what I remember as the Downtown.
The next time I am in the Hamilton area I will check the clippings file in the Library on the Downtown/Granada to make sure it is what I remember as the Downtown. I want to make sure my mind is still intact.

hamiltonmark on December 31, 2004 at 11:53 pm

Hello again mjc. there is a theatre that was post by Chad Irish called the James Street theatre. It was located on the corner of James Street North and Cannon Street. Check out this site for your theatre. Mark

hamiltonmark on December 31, 2004 at 11:25 pm

There is a picture of this theatre(Palace) with the Pantages sign on King Street at Click on postcards,subject is theatres and then look for post card of King Street. Mark

hamiltonmark on December 31, 2004 at 11:21 pm

There is a picture of this theare with the Pantages sign on King Street at Click on postcards,subject is theatres and then look for post card of King Street. Mark

htdmedia on December 14, 2004 at 12:01 pm

I think I may have information on this theatre that MJC is talking about. The always forgotten about Red Mill Theatre is on James before you hit York Blvd. It is above what is now Harvest Moon Restaurant (formerly Fortune Village and also the Tivoli Restaurant.) It wasn’t a movie house but a vaudeville theatre that has connections to the Tivoli and I’m assuming the Grand Opera Hotel as there are rumours of a tunnel that ran under James Street connecting the two locations so performers could get from spot to spot without heading outdoors. The Red Mill was used recently as a banquet hall for the chinese restaurants that have occupied the location, also a performing space for rock bands (i’ve played the stage) and there was a time in the late 90’s where it became the Red Mill Dinner Theatre. The stage is small width wise but very high – it has a very detailed wreath like design that surrounds the edging of the stage and what appears to be a woman’s face at the very top. The more recent decor includes golden dragons at the back of the stage with glowing red eyes and vintage Chinese lanterns that serve as chandeliers. It’s been years since I’ve been there – most definitely one of Downtown’s hidden treasures!

mrchangeover on December 12, 2004 at 5:15 pm

Mark: You are correct re the history of the Grand Opera House/Granada/Downtown. I was in contact with a librarian at the Hamilton Public Library. I was not aware of the history of the Downtown back in 1961 and did not see any reference to it under that name in the Granada listing.

mrchangeover on December 10, 2004 at 11:50 am


Its at:
View link

Its just an entry though…no details.

hamiltonmark on December 10, 2004 at 11:43 am

I will get more information when I get a chance. I will also send pictures of the Grand ( Grand Opera House, Hotel and Tivoli if I can get permision. Can you send me Enrights listing so i can compare it to my information. Thanks Mark

mrchangeover on December 10, 2004 at 10:54 am

Mark: Good work…according to Enright’s listing the Downtown seated around 860. I thought it was a little bigger than that but its been over 40 years. I do remember it was quite stark inside, definately not an opera house interior. There may have been a balcony which was closed off when I went there. It was north of King…..not south as I said earlier.
I think we still need to fix the correct names and the address for the record. The Downtown was definately not next to the Tivoli. It would be nice to get everything straightened away…..future theatre buffs will thank us!