Capitol 6

805 Yates Street,
Victoria, BC V8W 1M1

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Showing 1 - 25 of 47 comments

hermangotlieb on November 27, 2016 at 8:19 pm

Just came back from a trip to Victoria and noticed this theatre has re-opened as an independent, I assume.

So glad to see it has been re-opened as a theatre as it is a great building that has been an important piece of the architectual landscape of Victoria for many years.

Let’s hope the attendance numbers keep it going for many years to come!

Spire on November 8, 2016 at 6:53 am

This theatre is now reopened. It’s now called simply “Capitol 6” and has a new website:

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on October 19, 2016 at 5:50 pm

UPDATE: Reopening November 4th, name to go back to Capitol 6, screen size has been made bigger on some screens, all leather-recliner seating (reserved) and Vancouver Island’s first Coke Freestyle machine at concession.

News link:

ScreenClassic on September 9, 2016 at 3:58 pm

Any word yet on a specific date for the Capitol 6’s reopening? We’re into September now and still no sign of activity.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on June 8, 2016 at 9:47 am

BREAKING NEWS! The Capitol 6 in Victoria is reopening in August!!!!

Full article:

hermangotlieb on March 6, 2016 at 1:22 pm

I walked by the Capitol 6 last week and noticed they had cleaned up the lobby considerably. They moved out all of the over-grown dead plants, the ATM machines etc.

With new owners, it looks like it won’t be too long before it meets the wrecking ball. It’s too bad.

At least there are contributors who were generous enough to share a wealth of photos that covers just about every square-inch of this building!

DLyonwood on September 17, 2015 at 5:47 pm

I wonder if anyone knows the name(s) of the architect(s) who designed this theatre? I’d like to see more of their work.

Hailee on August 18, 2015 at 11:02 am

Love being able to come on here and see all the pictures of this theatre in detail. Wish i had taken more pictures of all the cinemas i worked at. I miss working there, lots of memories with the Capitol 6, it makes me so sad that i’ll never be able to go inside again. It’s only a matter of time before the building is demolished i’m sure.

Matt Ceccato
Matt Ceccato on August 4, 2015 at 1:19 pm

I saw “Eraser” here on July 2, 1996. I don’t remember anything that really stood out, but I did find it amusing that the posters used were for the US market and the MPAA rating was obscured. Also, James Earl Jones voiced over a commercial for a performance, but I can’t remember what…

telliott on November 25, 2014 at 7:39 am

And that’s why it’s weird that they have not replaced either of these 80s cinemas with something more modern. And doesn’t seem to be any plans in sight either, haven’t seen any announcements from Cineplex or Landmark. It really IS too bad there isn’t more competition in Canada anymore.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on November 24, 2014 at 9:45 pm

The closing of the Capitol has still left a big hole in my heart, and it saddens me every time I walk by it. Ever since it closed it has been really tough to get particular movies to show here now, and many smaller releases now bypass our city because of it.

As for West Van area, they could do with a 10-12 screen Cineplex right in the mall with a few VIP theaters no problem. Easy to get to by transit as well. That would likely close both North Van locations, however.

It’s also really interesting to think that the two locations in North Vancouver are both total 80’s design cinemas (a Drabinsky era Cineplex Odeon AND a late 80’s Famous Players “Bijou”, “Rialto”, “Avalon”), largely unchanged since they opened. Very few of either type of cinema even exist anymore.

telliott on November 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm

Too bad eh. Think of all the movies they could have shown by now. Our own Westwood here in TO sat empty from 1998 until last year when they finally tore it down. Rainbow could have shown movies there all these years. Going back to Vancouver, I remember when West Van had the Odeon and Park Royal and North Van had none after the Odeon Totem closed down. Now it’s been North Van that’s had the movie theatres all these years. I just think it’s odd that Cineplex or Landmark haven’t replaced either one with a multiplex and VIP would certainly fit in with the moneyed population of that area.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on November 23, 2014 at 6:56 pm

Meanwhile Capitol 6 is just sitting there, with the few tenants on the lower floor (the film fest office and the rent-to-own store) still open as of now.

From what I know everything except the digital projectors and some of the concession equipment is still in the building. Even the posters from the last few movies that played there are still sitting in the lower lobby!

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on November 23, 2014 at 6:52 pm

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a Cineplex go into the mall area in West Van at some point. I know a theater used to be there but they could do really well with a new build.

That said the Cineplex Odeon Park & Tilford IS all digital, so who knows for the time being.

telliott on November 23, 2014 at 4:38 pm

On another topic Jason, do you think there will ever be a new multiplex for the north shore in Vancouver. They seem to be the only area of a major city without a modern stadium seating, wall to wall screen multiplex. I’m surprised it hasn’t happened years ago.

DavidDymond on June 1, 2014 at 8:40 am

Famous Players Canadian Corporation went all out in the construction of this CAPITOL Theatre!! The first manager was veteran showman Jack McRae — whose family owned lots of property in the Victoria area.

telliott on June 1, 2014 at 8:02 am

Thanks Jason! One of the most unique and modern movie theatres I have seen anywhere. Can’t believe it’s gone. Interesting that here and in Vancouver they chose to demolish and rebuild both Capitols rather than divide up in to multiple cinemas like they did in so many other cities. I’m glad they didn’t. This one is stunning.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on June 1, 2014 at 4:01 am

Added nearly 40 photos to the gallery, including scans of the 1981 grand opening and construction, along with an old photo of the original Capitol.

Consider the Capitol 6 gallery complete! Enjoy.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on April 5, 2014 at 7:05 pm

Thanks Herman and Tim for your comments. Gallery is now complete! Please comment, leave questions etc.

This was a LOT of work to put each image up one at a time, and there were also a few areas I didn’t cover like the roof, bathrooms etc. I also removed a few of my original set of photos so they wouldn’t duplicate. (Please also note Hailee’s excellent set of photos for when she used to manage there.) One area I WISH I covered was the maze-like, concrete exits from each auditorium. You would exit into a cold, quiet, sterile set of staircases leading you to a gigantic concrete street level exit on both Yates and View street sides. People usually never exited this way and rather chose to head back down the circular ramp to the exit doors, which always gave you a nice view of downtown as you left.

And although I agree with Herman on the uniqueness, in many ways this place shares a lot of similarities with Capitol 6 Vancouver. Same types of seats, carpeting and screen sizes. Cinema #2 here had about the same screen size as the behemoth Cinema One in Vancouver, although with half the seats (1,031 in Vancouver vs. 534 in Victoria). Many of the later Famous Players builds DID go to a standard just like Cineplex Odeon eventually did as well, just in a different way.

But anyway. Going through these photos reminded me of the power of this place; my childhood cinema which I still miss to this day. This was a place where I felt comfortable, safe and very welcomed to watch a movie in. I fell in love with movies here as well as the Odeon (which is still going strong as I have said many times before).

Yes, the theater never upgraded to stadium seating but it WAS on the cutting edge of technology. It was the first Victoria theater to have all Dolby Stereo later in the 80s (many of the screens were mono to start). It ran 70mm in the late 80s and early 90s. The first DTS installation was here. In fact, digital sound got a LOT of play here early on; screen #2 was Dolby when it opened in 1981, upgraded to SR in the late decade when 70mm played there, DTS was installed in the summer of 1994, then Dolby Digital a year later, then SDDS from about 1996 to early 1998. It was in this period of time that screen #2 had sound quality among the very finest out of any cinema I have ever been to in my life, even to this day out of attending hundreds of cinemas all over North America. The theater switched from SDDS back to Dolby Digital in early 1998 or so, mid-way through the six month engagement of TITANIC. Over the years, sadly, the sound quality didn’t live up to its heyday in the 90s, and over the years drivers blew and the volume had to go down, but even towards closing still sounded pretty good in comparison to new theaters.

Just to add again to the whole sight-line thing on Cinema #2; the theater had a row of only two seats on the left hand side of the auditorium on the aisle (again, I should have taken a photo of these heavenly seats but never did). As the room sat about 530+ people you would never, ever have anyone try to sit next to you, and when I did take a date to a movie here they were the perfect date seats. You could enter or exit from either side too.

I would ALWAYS watch a movie in these seats in #2. Perfect view of the huge screen, easy to duck in and out for a bathroom break or to see a manager or staff, and even if someone sat in front of you your view would not be compromised. It also sat right next to a power outlet so if I needed to charge my cell phone for whatever reason, I’d just plug it in, turn it to silent and it would sit right next to me for the duration of the movie. Everybody wins.

Thinking more about what Tim said months ago, I’d love for a new chain or company to come in and salvage it. Yes, the numbers were bad but with a little TLC it could be prosperous again. Just a simple reposition of the seats would take care of the sight line issue. The building just sits there and I know a lot of the equipment is still in there. Maybe one day…

hermangotlieb on April 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm

Thanks for posting all those pictures, it’s great to have an extensive photographic record of this theatre.

I really like the glass and brick architecture of this particular theatre that was very unique and different than any other multiplex theatre I’ve seen.

The current Silvercity brand theatres all use the same dull blueprint designs right across the country.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on April 5, 2014 at 3:02 pm

As of right now just about to post the remaining lobby and exterior photos.

Cinemas 1, 3, 4 & 5 had very good sightlines due to the placement of the screen. I never had an instance, even as a kid, of someone blocking my view sitting infront of me. The same couldn’t be said about huge #2; it had pretty poor sightlines but I always liked sitting on the aisle seats which fixed that.

telliott on April 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm

Thanks Jason! Now I feel like I’ve actually been to the theatre to see a movie in all 6 auditoriums. I still think it’s a shame that someone couldn’t make this place work. Still looks too modern to be closed. And does every theatre have to have stadium seating these days. Too bad.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on April 5, 2014 at 1:13 pm

Now uploading a massive set of photos of the ‘ol Capitol 6 to this page. These photos will include exterior, lower lobby, upper lobby, all six screens and projection. It is a bit of a chore since CT will only let you upload one photo at a time, but it will look great when done.

Jason Whyte
Jason Whyte on February 28, 2014 at 12:02 am

It was definitely a unique cinema in many ways. I will be uploading photos soon. A lot of them. So many in fact that it’s pretty much the reason. I took thousands of photos from many angles over the course of a few months to cover nearly all the bases.

But I’ll try to describe it. The street level entrance is a decent size. As you enter the box office is immediately ahead and a the lower lobby featuring circular seating is to the left as you enter the doors. To the right was a rather large arcade called The Zone that was added in the mid 00’s when Empire took over.

Once tickets are purchased from either the box office, ABO’s or the Zone, you ascend a large circular ramp which takes you up above street level to the second story. While you ascend you can see above street level from a unique glass dome

Once you arrive at the top of the ramp, your ticket is taken there by an usher/supervisor. Now you are on the second level where all the auditoriums are. Immediately when you get to the ramp, the first thing you will see is the largest cinema, #2, looking at you from two sets of double doors. Cinema #1, the smallest is immediately to the left of the top of the ramp. But upon first glance you immediately see Cinema #2 to your left, a small seating area to the right, and the remaining cinemas stretch an entire city block from #3 to #6 on the left hand side. Concession bar is directly across from Cinema #3 on the right hand side. Above the concessions on a separate floor (accessed by two sets of twisting staircases on both sides of the concession) is the main sets of men and women’s washrooms. There was also a handicapped washroom, slightly hidden across from cinema #5 as well. A generous sized lobby extends all the way down the city block length of cinemas, and at the end there is also a nice set of glass partitions that overlook Blanshard and View street as well.

You can get an impression of the place from my initial set of photos along with Hailee’s set, but I’ll be getting up the full set which will truly show what the place is like. I will also likely delete the original photos I posted. This will take a LONG time as CT only allows one photo up a a time, but I promise I will do it!

This was in many ways a sister theater to the Capitol 6 in Vancouver. Similar carpeting, seating, earth tones and screen sizes in many of the cinemas. Of course I have explained its closing before in detail and understand it’s just a reality of the times, but of course I still miss the many movies and friendships I made there over the years.