Capitol Theatre

103 King Street East,
Hamilton, ON L7M 3J4

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Capitol Theatre

This theater opened as the Loew’s Theatre in 1917, designed by Thomas W. Lamb, and was taken over by Famous Players from 1930 to 1946.

Odeon took control of the theater in 1946 and renovated and renamed it the Capitol Theatre.

The 2,259-seat theater, the largest in Hamilton when it opened, was sadly closed in 1971 and mostly demolished on January 10, 1973.

The former lobby space is still standing, and houses a restaurant today.

Contributed by Chad Irish

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

hamiltonmark
hamiltonmark on January 10, 2010 at 9:08 am

I recall reading that the organ was removed from the theatre and was re-installed some where in Ancaster. The Hamilton Spectator newspaper from what I can recall stated that there was a rush to remove it because they had started to demolish the auiditorium.

heyrockstar
heyrockstar on January 14, 2010 at 11:18 am

I was there when they started the pre auction for the palace and capital…got to go backstage and down to the old change rooms and more..Thrilling,so much history..still can see it.I was only 15…I remember the huge pa system behind the curtains that was sold to a rock band..There was a story about someone buying the dome ceiling from one of them? We used to sit in the opera seats upstairs sometimes and think what it must have been like in the early 20s,30s 40s..up there ..Wow…When I was a little guy ,my mother would give me a dollar on sat to go to the shows..10cents each way on the bus,25 cents for the show,25 cents for a hot dog.15 cents for popcorn,15 cents for the milk shake machine..I was Rich! and we always stayed for a second screening of the movie .so much history and workmanship..gone..but I still remember…Hamilton should have kept at least one of them…

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on April 21, 2010 at 10:12 am

Another old LOEWS house pretty cool.

Bway
Bway on June 10, 2010 at 6:39 am

The building’s facade, still shows it’s theater past quite evidently judging by this street view of the old front. I guess the whole lobby front was preserved, but opened up to a sort of courtyard and parking lot now where the theater auditorium used to be?

Click here for Google Street View

TivFan
TivFan on May 1, 2012 at 5:38 am

You can see the original facade of the Capitol entrance building on the Google street view. It still looks like this as of April 2012, minus the “for sale” sign. It was purchased over a year ago, but nothing has happened to it since. This building was just the entrance to the main theater, which was built on the King William Street side of the alleyway. The interior of the entrance building was basically a “ramped” walkway, that graduated from the street level box office, over the alleyway and connected to the lobby of the auditorium building. This was typical of a lot of theaters: the Hamilton Pantages/ Palace, the Toronto Pantages and the Tivoli in Hamilton (the latter entrance way was not “ramped”). They built the small entrance buildings on the expensive main steet land and built the larger auditoriums on the cheaper property on the next block. You can see the rear of the building on the Google street view (the word “GRAPES” is visible on the back wall for Grapes and Things, a former tenant).
The second archive photo is of the lobby, looking towards and down the entrance (that’s sunlight down there!).

TivFan
TivFan on May 1, 2012 at 6:12 am

The parking lot seen in the Google street view, is where the Capitol auditorium once stood. It was huge! And about four-stories high. I went to the Capitol, during the demolition, after school. The workers let me look around the building once (I guess we were less litigious, in those days). I got poster frames, coming soon signs, reels, a boiler licence and a mimeographed seating plan, among other things. This was a beautiful place. It had a domed ceiling and I remember a mural over the procenium. I used to love going there and looking around. In its last year, I saw a double feature of “King Kong” (with added censored scenes) and “Mighty Joe Young”. I went by myself on a Saturday afternoon. There were, maybe, a total of ten people in an auditorium that held over two thousand patrons.
The Capitol was run as an independant, in the last couple of years. I remember they had successful runs of “Point Blank”, with Lee Marvin and “The Stewardesses” in 3D…

TivFan
TivFan on November 7, 2012 at 3:25 am

If you look at the Capitol facade, on the Google street view, a stairway to the second level can be seen. As of the first of November, I noticed that it has been removed.
A correction to my May 1/12 comment: The Lee Marvin film title should be “Prime Cut”.

DavidDymond
DavidDymond on November 7, 2012 at 2:34 pm

The Capitol, Palace, Savoy and other Hamilton theatres were operated as Famous Players affiliates with the name Hamilton United Theatres. Famous Players agreed to do their booking, and after paying all expenses to split the profits in equal shares. Famous Players do not guarantee any results however. George Stroud was the majority shareholder and after he passed the George Stroud estate controlled these theatres. They were sold off to Odeon Theatres without telling Famous Players.

BrockKing13
BrockKing13 on July 15, 2013 at 10:15 am

I went to both Capitol and Palace pre auction and auction in 1972. Got some souveniers and a love for old theatres that led to my working for Famous Players as usher and later ass’t mgr and manager until the mid eighties. Too bad video killed the old movie palaces.

gordonmcleod
gordonmcleod on July 9, 2014 at 9:58 am

The organ (warren/woodstock) from here and another Hamilton theatre are installed at Ancaster High Scool Sandy MacPherson was the organist for a while (from Paris Ontario) before going to Buffalo and then on to England to be the organist on the BBC

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