Classic Theatre

Owen Sound, ON N4K

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Classic Theatre

Once a part of the Famous Players circuit, the Classic Theatre opened in 1935 and closed in 1960.

Contributed by Christopher Walczak

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

CSWalczak on June 16, 2008 at 2:41 pm

Two pictures from the Ontario Archives of the Classic Theatre in
Owen Sound from 1947:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 17, 2011 at 9:17 am

A theater of the style the photos reveal would not have been first opened as late as 1935. Possibly 1935 is when Famous Players began operating the house. I’d guess the construction of the house to date from the late 1910s-early 1920s.

Perhaps the Classic was the theater then in the planning stage which was mentioned in the trade union journal The Bridgeman’s Magazine, issue of September, 1920. The house for C. Georgas and P. Leos was to be a two-story concrete, brick, and steel structure costing about $125,000 (presumably in Canadian dollars.) It was being designed by Toronto architects Hall & Duerr.

Boxoffice in 1954 mentioned two theaters that were then operating in Owen Sound; the Roxy and the Centre. The Roxy is the house now called the Owen Sound Little Theatre, built in 1912, but the Centre is unaccounted for, and it might have been the 1920 project by Hall & Duerr, so the Classic cannot yet be definitely attributed to them.

CSWalczak on August 19, 2012 at 12:58 am

Here are two additional pictures that show the Classic in Owen sound. Based on the daytime view, I would have to agree that the Classic opened well prior to 1935. The information accompanying the photos indicates that the Classic was located on 2nd Ave. near Eighth St.

I will add the Centre as I have found a some photos of that theatre as well; the information on those indicates that it also was on 2nd Ave but near Tenth St.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2012 at 3:38 pm

A 1917 city directory for Owen Sound lists a Savoy Theatre at 745 2nd Avenue East. The only other theater it listed was Griffin’s. As the Classic appears to have been in the 800 block of 2nd Avenue East, the Savoy must have been a different house and the Classic not yet built.

I think this increases the likelihood that the Classic was the 1920 project designed by Hall & Duerr, although the description “…two-story concrete, brick, and steel structure….” more closely resembles the building the Centre was in than the building the Classic was in. The Classic must have been built sometime right around 1920, though.

Judging from a comparison of the aerial photo CSWalczak linked to and the Google Street View of 2nd Avenue today it looks like the Classic Theatre has been demolished. I’d guess it was on part of the footprint of a neo-vintage building that currently houses the Remax real estate agency, a toy store called the Rocking Horse, and a swimwear shop called Sunpoint.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2012 at 4:00 pm

The 1917 City Directory I cited lists the Paterson House Hotel at 845 2nd Avenue East. As the Classic Theatre was just two doors up the street, it must have had an address of about 849 2nd Avenue.

TivFan on December 5, 2012 at 7:39 am

The Classic Theatre has been demolished (along with the Patterson House/see street view). There are three photos showing the Classic at (under various catagories). I have three postcards showing the main street in Owen Sound. Two of the cards identify 2nd Avenue as Main Street. One postcard shows the Classic Theatre. The marquee reads: JOAN FONTAINE IN FROM THIS DAY FORWARD. Another card show the Savoy Theatre. It is undated, but the Savoy appears to be closed and the marquee reads: WELCOME VISITORS VISIT THE CLASSIC.

TivFan on December 5, 2012 at 8:10 am

The Savoy Theatre was at 745 2nd Avenue. The building still exists (see street view) and has been converted to other use. I have two postcards showing the Savoy. One is noted in my last comment. The other shows the marquee reading: GOOD MORNING MISS DOVE & WOMAN’S WORLD IN TECHNICOLOR. The writer on the postcard (dated 7/29/58) states: “…sitting on the beach writing this. We went to the show last night. Terrible picture.” The picture is not identified…

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