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A 70mm projector and six-track Dolby Stereo sound capabilities were installed in 1982: a re-release of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” starting on March 12th of that year was the first 70mm print shown.
Now operated by AMC as the AMC Classic Pines 1.
This theatre is now reopened. It’s now called simply “Capitol 6” and has a new website:
Taken sometime before the theatre’s demolition in 1974.
I came across an interesting tidbit while doing research in newspaper clippings. Apparently, this theatre was actually designed and built by Cineplex Odeon, as the first theatre of an intended expansion into Atlantic Canada. However, on February 28, 1990, Empire Theatres purchased the still-under-construction theatre from Cineplex for $3.4 million, and Cineplex Odeon abandoned their expansion plans, including a planned multiplex in downtown Halifax, which would have been attached to the Maritime Centre office tower.
This theatre was opened on April 29, 1948 as the Vogue Theatre, showing the Bing Crosby film “Blue Skies.” It was purchased by Famous Players in 1970, renamed Eve in 1972, and started playing adult films. In 1974, the theatre was renamed the Cove Theatre and returned to playing first-run films. It was closed by Famous Players on August 25, 1985 – the last film shown was “Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome.”
In 1987, the theatre was transformed into an LGBT community space and bar called “Rumours.”
In 1993, the building returned to movie theatre use as Wormwood’s Dog and Monkey Cinema, Halifax’s only dedicated repertory cinema, showing foreign films and arthouse films. Wormwood’s closed in February 1998, and the building served as variety of purposes before becoming Palooka’s Boxing Club in 2008, and a television studio for Global Television in 2012.
(information partially sourced from this article.)
I’ve added two opening newspaper ads from October 1988 to the photos section.
This theatre opened on December 12th, 1997, with 12 screens. Auditoriums 1-6 and 11-12 featured “traditional” seating, while auditoriums 7-10, the largest in the complex with 336 seats each, featured stadium seating, the first auditoriums in Atlantic Canada to feature this. However, harking from the early design era of stadium seating, these four theatres feel flawed today, with screens that are somewhat small and feel distant from the stadium seating.
The IMAX Screen was opened a month later, and was one of IMAX’s first forays into multiplex cinemas (as well as the first in Canada, I believe.) There was a fair bit of controversy at the time about the location choice, a bit outside the city centre, as a competing group of business-people had been proposing an IMAX Theatre to be located in Downtown Halifax, and were quite upset that IMAX chose Empire’s proposal over theirs.
The theatre complex was an immediate hit, and in 1999, five more auditoriums (13-17) were added in a new wing, and auditoriums 3-4 and 11-12 were renovated with stadium seating. To this day, auditoriums 2, 5 and 6 still don’t have stadium seating, and are the only auditoriums in the Halifax area to completely lack it. However, the screens are of a good size, and they’re still good places to see a film.
In 2010, the complex underwent its first round of major renovations, and auditorium 1 was removed to make way for an expanded concession stand and new washrooms. The IMAX theatre was renumbered #1 (from #18), and all other auditoriums kept their number.
In 2011, all auditoriums, including the IMAX theatre, were converted to digital projection.
In 2013, the complex was taken over by Cineplex, who have left their mark on the complex in a big way, completely transforming the interior finishings.
Auditoriums 7-12 feature underwhelming screens that are quite far from the stadium seating, and pale in comparison to those at Park Lane and Dartmouth Crossing. The other auditoriums feature stadium seating of a more modern design, and work quite well.
As this complex prepares to celebrate its 20th anniversary next year, we shall see what Cineplex has in store for it…
@celboy The IMAX Laser projectors are indeed capable of projecting at 1.43:1, using vertical anamorphic lenses. Reports I have read suggest that for IMAX Laser shows of SW7, the Jakku sequence is presented in 1.43:1.
I added an interior shot of the auditorium from 1930 to the photos section.
The theatre opened on October 31, 1930, with the film “Old English”, starring George Arliss. It closed March 24, 1974, showing a double-bill of the Disney movies “Son of Flubber” and “Superdad”.
This theatre opened on July 29, 1990. The headline opening film was “Die Hard 2.” Stadium seating was added to Auditorium 2 in the early 2000s, but not to any of the other auditoriums. After the opening of the Dartmouth Crossing 12-plex in 2007, the theatre was changed to a second-run discount operation.
After closing, it was converted to become the Woodlawn Public Library, and still retained many elements of its multiplex days. The former lobby became the central area of the library, retaining the same shape. The circulation desk is located where the concession stand was. The areas previously occupied by an auditorium each became a different section of the library, also retaining roughly their original size and dimensions. Auditorium 1 became the Teen section, Auditorium 2 became the Children’s section, Auditorium 4 became the Adult section, Auditoriums 3 and 5 were converted into a shipping and distribution centre for the entire Halifax library system, and Auditorium 6 was converted into a 100-seat auditorium with raised stage, and a (significantly smaller) movie screen. The former 2nd floor projection corridor was converted into storage and office space, and original Empire Theatres signs are still visible on several doors in this area.
Actually, Cineplex is no longer using the SilverCity brand name for new theatres: all of their recent theatre openings have either been using the “Cineplex Cinemas” or “Scotiabank Theatre” brands, with only a few “Galaxy Cinemas”. At all the Halifax area theatres, they’ve installed permanent signing that says “Cineplex Cinemas” on all theatres, except this theatre, which is now called “Scotiabank Theatre Halifax” (no idea why the name was recently changed on here.) Further to that, one only needs to look on the Cineplex Press Releases website to see that this theatre was officially renamed as such:
Cineplex Press Release
A couple of notes and corrections:
The Paramount Theatre closed on October 27, 1988, the same day as the Scotia Square Cinema, because of the opening of the Park Lane 8 Cinemas the next day. The last films shown were “Bat*21” and “The Kiss.” Also, when the theatre was twinned, the balcony was turned into the second auditorium.
Also, the street name is indeed “Blowers,” not “Bowers.”
Empire is closing this theatre. The last day of operation is March 21st. Quite a turn of events, considering they only installed a retrofitted IMAX screen less than a year ago!
The IMAX theatre in this complex opened January 23, 1998, and was the first ever installation of IMAX’s 3D SR projection system. It features a 72x59' screen – I have some great memories of watching IMAX documentaries here.
In June 2011, the theatre was converted to IMAX Digital, much to my disappointment. However, for the run of “The Dark Knight Rises”, one of the 15/70mm SR projectors was reinstalled, and the movie was projected from film – which was an amazing experience. While they’re now back to using the digital projectors, the projectionist I spoke to after a screening (who was flown in by IMAX Corp. from Toronto for the duration of Dark Knight Rises’s run) mentioned that they’re going to keep the SR projectors around in case they ever need them again, and there’s plans to upgrade the theatre to IMAX’s next-generation laser projection system as soon as it goes on the market.
The first film shown here was “The Lion in Winter”.
Wow. I wouldn’t really take the experience of that one situation to make a blanket statement about all Canadians…
I imagine there’s been a few American mega-chains that have “pulled the plug” on an old theatre before they actually closed it!
This camcorder footage was taken in 1989, and at the 04:48 mark, drives by the Paramount Theatre, which had been closed the previous year. Although the front of the theatre is obscured by a bus, the marquee is clearly visible, with a “For Sale” message on it.
This camcorder footage was taken in the 80s or 90s, and at the 03:53 mark, drives by the Casino Theatre, immediately followed by this theatre. Both had already been closed at that time, but recently.
This theatre, and the AMC theatre in Kanata, is being purchased by Empire Theatres:
This theatre, and the AMC theatre in Whitby, is being purchased by Empire Theatres:
Here is a photo of the exterior, circa 1957.
Here is a photo of the Empire Extra auditorium.
I’ve uploaded nine photos I took of the place when I was there in September 2010 for the Lost Dominion 70mm film festival. Among the films shown were Lawrence of Arabia, Spartacus, Vertigo, and one of the last known 70mm prints of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. They’re planning on doing it again later this year, fingers crossed…
The Ontario government closed most of Ontario Place, including the Cinesphere, on February 1, 2012. Interestingly enough, the Cinesphere had just underwent a $2-million renovation the previous year which included the installation of a new IMAX GT 15/70 projector. The park will be closed until 2015, when it will reopen for the Pan Am Games, and then the park will be “redeveloped.”
A real shame…