Capitol Theatre

315 Donald Street,
Winnipeg, MB

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Famous Players' Capitol Theater was the biggest single-screen movie theatre ever built in Winnipeg & the biggest in Manitoba when it opened in 1921. At one time the Capitol had over 2000 seats.

In 1979, the theater was renovated and the Capitol’s balcony was converted into another cinema. Cinema 1 then contained 864 seats, while Cinema 2 had 426.

The Capitol closed in 1990 and was demolished in 2003.

Contributed by Chad Irish, Andrew McCrea

Recent comments (view all 25 comments)

KenS on June 21, 2006 at 8:35 pm

Hello there i see that some of the same people tour this page as does the Met,, takening a suggestion ( a good one at that) to post my photo pages for some of winnipegs theatres, of which i have three listed, The Met, The capital, and the Colony, these insider photos can be viewed at this link, View link
hope you enjoy look at the Met postings for infor regarding these photos, thanks for the suggestion sam,, as for some inside information on the capital, i had worked in this place for a few nites as exta staff, when i was in there after it closed Greg Agnew and myself took it upon ourselves to look it over well, he is a great sorce of information on winnipeg history, we had moved around the capital and had found underneath the stage the old band shell, somewhere i have photos and will post them when there located, but under there we had recovered i think at least 5 music sheet stands, as well as many documents regarding Famous Players records which were left over at the Met in the office, The Cap was near the end the Head office for Famous players in manitoba, upstairs we had also found a old combonation sink, oven, stove mini electric applience which looked like it would have been from the 50s, one of the old projection stands were also in the walk way as well, but somewhere i do have other photos of the Cap, so stay tuned, Ken

grandcameo on July 24, 2006 at 7:43 pm

I can’t wait to see more of your pictures of the Capitol. I think it was much nier than the met, even after it was split, although, the Met has a beautiful facade.

If only the Capitol’s guts could be in the Met’s shell.

And, don’t chastise me, but I love the Met too, its just that I think the Capitol was much, much more beautiful and I think they went more for saving the Met because it was never split. And I can’t help but wonder what happened to the Cap’s chandelier (anyone have pictures of it?) or why the Met was never hacked up?

mrchangeover on February 9, 2008 at 11:40 am

Heres a link to three excellent interior photos of the Capitol. ere

View link

This theatre reminds me a lot of the Palace in Hamilton, which was also designed by Thomas Lamb.

PGlenat on February 10, 2008 at 2:35 am

Those photos show the Capitol as I remember it, not the hacked up horror after twinning. By 1978 (the year of the photos) all traces of the orchestra pit and organ are gone (except for the organ grilles) along with the large central chandelier hanging from the dome. Could the chandelier have been removed as long ago as the 50’s when the Cinemascope screen was installed?

kencmcintyre on September 21, 2008 at 10:20 pm

Here is an April 1960 ad from the Winnipeg Free Press:

numapass on December 18, 2008 at 6:38 pm

I had just seen “The Two Jakes” at the Capitol 2 (which was the original balcony of the old single seat auditorium.) The crowd was sparse. I watched some of the credits while the handful of other patrons filed out. Whatever the movie was downstairs had already let out. As I got to the door on Donald, the usher, a young kid, said to me “Congratulations Sir – You are the last customer in the Capitol theatre. We’re closing the doors tonight.” And so they did – although the building stood empty for several years after that.

mntwister on February 28, 2010 at 9:12 am

burningdust I would love to have a dvd of the video you took. My info is on my page. Thank you, let me know how much to ship if you are willing. My Grandfather used to work for Rothstein Theaters of Canada and booked all of the movies into this theater for many years. His offices were located in the Marlborough Hotel on the 2nd floor.

DavidDymond on August 2, 2013 at 7:28 pm

Sorry mntwister If your grandfather worked for Rothstein theatres it would be impossible for him to book any Famous Players Theatres as they had their own bookers that worked out of the Toronto head office!!

mntwister on August 3, 2013 at 12:47 pm

I stand corrected. I asked my mom, who is from Winnipeg and indeed he did not book for this theater. My mother worked at the Paramount and Universal exchanges in Winnipeg and as I said my grandfather, after working at Universal and RKO, went over to Rothstein Theaters. That’s when he was awarded the Canadian Motion Picture Pioneer of the Year (Hy Swartz).

My mom says we did go to movies at this theater,as we went from Minnesota to Winnipeg several times a year but I don’t remember as I would have been under 10 years old.

gordonmcleod on January 26, 2014 at 7:34 pm

The Warren Organ from here is part of the installation in the Obrien Theatre Renfrew Ontario along with the Starland’s organ

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