Capitol Theatre

890 Rue Sainte Catherine O,
Montreal, QC

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1969 photo courtesy of AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Capitol opened on 2nd April 1921 for the Famous Players circuit. The opening programme had Cecil B. DeMilles motion picture “Forbidden Fruit” as the main attraction. It could originally seat over 2600 (seating was somewhat reduced a couple decades later) and was one of the most grandiose and luxurious theaters ever built in Montréal. It was called "Canada’s Greatest Playhouse" in opening day newspaper ads.

A main feature of the auditorium was the elaborate coffered ceiling, together with giant Corinthian columns lining the walls. An unusual feature was the organ pipes set into the alcoves above the box seats on the side-walls.

By the 50s, it had become a roadshow house with long runs of blockbuster epics. For instance, "The Ten Commandments" ran for more than a year in 1956-57. Air conditioning was installed during this period of time.

The Capitol was closed and later razed in 1973, to make way for an office building.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

edward
edward on October 17, 2003 at 8:49 pm

Designed by Thomas Lamb’s Toronto office, built by Nathan Louis Nathanson (first general manager of Famous Players Canadian Corp.) and opened April 2, 1921 with the film “Forbidden Fruit”. Although still in original condition and showing films, the theatre was demolished on October 1973 along with the Strand-built 1912 (renamed Pigalle and seen on the right of the photo above) just a few doors away.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 26, 2007 at 7:00 pm

Opening day advert:
View link
A 1930’s postcard view of Rue Sainte Catherine:
View link
A similar view on this postcard from the 1960’s:
View link

DonLewis
DonLewis on November 7, 2009 at 3:00 pm

From the early 1970s, a postcard view of the Capitol Theater in Montreal.

ohserase
ohserase on January 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

It is too bad this grand cinema was torn down. I read that people tried to save it, but Mayor Jean Drapeau only cared about buildings in Old Montreal. Would be amazing if it was still in operation today. I was 10 months old when it was torn down, so I never went!

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on January 26, 2012 at 8:49 pm

A link to a picture of the theatre’s interior

http://www.mccord-museum.qc.ca/en/collection/artifacts/MP-1980.390.9/

Wami
Wami on June 19, 2013 at 6:10 am

Today I was a tourist in my own town. The old Capitol Theatre was not completely demolished as I found out on a tour of the Mansfield Club. I worked for the caterer who closed the theatre with a huge party and auction of artifacts. Much to my surprise health buffs can pump iron or ride their bicycles in front of the old stage and backdrop in all of its glory!

MJP
MJP on June 19, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Actually Wami that would be the old Loews Theatre where the Mansfield Club is used today.

DavidDymond
DavidDymond on June 20, 2013 at 9:15 pm

N. L. Nathanson was the PRESIDENT and co-founder of Famous Players Canadian Corporation. Thomas Lamb architect did NOT have a Toronto office. I believe he worked out of New York. The Capitol Theatre in Montreal was a movie palace in every way.

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