Laurier Palace Theatre

1683 Rue Ste. Catherine Est,
Montreal, QC H2L 2J4

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Opened in 1912, the Laurier Palace was the scene of a tragic fire on January 9, 1927 which claimed the lives of seventy-eight children because the number of exits was inadequate and the some of those were blocked.

The theater was closed after the fire, never reopened, and was later demolished.

Contributed by Christopher Walczak

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 14, 2010 at 3:06 pm

This website: http://silenttoronto.com/ has a fine write-up about the fire as well as photos of the theater after that terrible event. (Scroll down about half-way).

In addition to describing how the fire occurred and the aftermath, the article also notes something I did not know, that, largely as a consequence (but also, with urging of church officials), a law was passed in Quebec that prohibited the attendance of children under sixteen from going to a movie theater. The law remained on the books until 1967.

SilentToronto
SilentToronto on January 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

The front page of the Arizona Daily Star from the day after the tragic Laurier Palace incident shows how far news travelled.

SilentToronto
SilentToronto on January 22, 2011 at 5:00 pm

Thanks Christopher. Here’s a direct link to the article.

I should note that it requires amending: at an early cinema studies conference in June, I received evidence from a well-reputed academic that “Get Em Young” wasn’t actually on the bill that day. I have some sources to verify soon, so keep that in mind while reading.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 29, 2012 at 7:18 pm

Another picture of the theatre after the fire can be seen here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2012 at 9:16 pm

We currently have an obsolete address for this theater. Montreal renumbered its streets after the theater closed. The article at Silent Toronto says that the Laurier Palace was on Sainte-Catherine near rue Dézéry, and that a church was built on the theater’s site in 1954. That church is now the Eglise Evangelique Hispanique Bethel, and its modern address is 3215 Rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montreal, QC H1W 2C5. There is a plaque commemorating the fire on the front of the building.

The Film Daily published an article about the fire in its issue of January 11, 1927. It begins at this link and concludes at this link.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on November 24, 2012 at 9:24 pm

There is a picture of what the site looks like now within the Silent Toronto article that was posted on January 22, 2011.

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