Palace Theatre

137 King Street E,
Hamilton, ON L8N

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Showing 1 - 25 of 57 comments

DavidZornig on October 17, 2018 at 6:47 pm

1957 photo added credit Superior Engravers courtesy of Randy Watts, via the Vintage Hamilton Facebook page.

DavidDymond on August 17, 2013 at 6:40 pm

The Palace Theatre was operated by Hamilton United Theatres of which the estate of George Stroud was the primary shareholder, and Famous Players Canadian Corporation. Famous Players would book the theatre and then after expenses were met would split the profits in equal shares. Famous would not guarantee the results. The other big theatres in the Hamilton United Group were Capitol and Savoy. Mr. George Stroud must have been a very wealthy man!

schmadrian on May 25, 2012 at 5:06 am

TivFan: Am researching for a novel and would love chat about The Palace. Please contact me:

TivFan on May 2, 2012 at 3:44 am

I remember we would go to see the James Bond doubles here. The theater was amazing and the marquee was the biggest and best in the city (the Tivoli, second), with neon and chaser lights.
During the demolition, the workers let me look around the building. I went downtown after school. I was in there two times, at least. Once, I got signs, ‘foodstuff’ licences and a large blueprint of the seating plan. You had to enter the building on King William Street, through the exit door, to the left of the stage. Someone had removed a section of decorative plaster (2 ft, square), and it was cracked and it was just leaning against the wall near the exit. I asked if I could have it—they said yes—and I’ve still got it. Right place, right time. It’s a plaster-relief; a decorative boarder at the top and bottom, two half-human/half-animal figures sitting back-to-back, with a pedistal between them. You can see the renovation paint job on portions of the piece. I remember carrying it out, and there was a phone booth at King William and Catharine. I called my Dad to pick me up in the car. We cut an old piece of carpet, and it layed on it, under my bed for a couple years until I built a frame for it in wood shop. I don’t know if it’s from the auditorium, or lobby or what.

TivFan on May 1, 2012 at 5:59 pm

This reminds me of the movie called “Rosie!” (Universal, c. 1967—never on video). Rosalind Russell plays Rosie. She has money and her kids/heirs can’t wait to get their hands on it. Sandra Dee is her grand-daughter (I think—I saw it 30+ years ago). She’s the only one that “gets” her. Anyway, Rosie decides to buy this old theater—for $2.5 million. She explains to Dee that they were going to tear it down. She couldn’t let that happen, because this was where her late husband proposed to her. And she says: “They were going to tear it down and turn it into a parking lot. Progress. WHAT THE HELL IS SO PROGRESSIVE ABOUT A PARKING LOT?!” Scene.

TivFan on May 1, 2012 at 5:36 pm

The auditorium was built on the north side of the alleyway, on the King William Street land. Both the auditorium and entrance building were demolished. The building on King Street is an entirely new structure, and now houses the Sushi Star restaurant. The auditorium is a parking lot. That’s right…they paved paradise, put up a parking lot…everybody sing!

TivFan on May 1, 2012 at 5:21 pm

If you go to the Century listing, turn the Google street view across the street, and you will see the parking lot where the Palace auditorium once stood. The main theater entrance was on King Street. Like the Capitol, the building basically housed the ramped hallway entrance, which rose from street level, up to and over the alleyway and into the main theater building. An archive photo shows the entrance facade and marquee. Another is a shot from the lobby and down the entrance hallway. The box office is in the middle, with daylight through the doors on either side.

TivFan on May 1, 2012 at 4:37 pm

This theater is one of the city’s biggest and saddest losses. It was once considered to be the civic auditorium/theater, but they opted to build Hamilton Place instead. Idiots. HP is an architectural eyesore. You can see in the archive photos just how amazing this place was. If you’ve seen the Pantages/Canon in Toronto, the Pantages/Palace was very close in size and design. And “Palace” was a very fitting and descriptive name.

nabes on June 10, 2009 at 6:54 am

Brian Morton: I am looking for history of Hamilton Movie Theatres. Contact – . Nabes

nabes on June 8, 2009 at 12:07 pm

I am doing an article on Hamilton’s Movie Theatres and would like to get hold of Brian Morton. Can anyone help. Nabes

mrchangeover on May 11, 2008 at 10:37 am

Great photo! Brings back memories for sure….the marquees and the bus.

schmadrian on May 10, 2008 at 5:06 pm


That’s incredible!

I remember those buses!

There’s the Hyland down the street on the right…and I’m assuming the Capitol in the foreground on the left?

kencmcintyre on May 10, 2008 at 4:36 pm

The Palace is visible on the left in this August 1972 photo by Mike Harrington:

mrchangeover on February 29, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Thanks. They are the ones I saw at the Archives.

mortonbg on February 29, 2008 at 3:17 pm


View link

Click on visual database about half way down on the left
Type in the words “Palace Theatre Hamilton” into the search box.
and four pictures of the Palace will appear.

You can download them, you just can’t reproduce them or post them anywhere without permission from the archive.

mrchangeover on February 29, 2008 at 2:42 pm

Also….in addition to my previous post…I have not seen anything on the Palace in the Ontario Archives online. The Capitol is there but not tghe old Palace theatre. The only shots I have seen are in John Lindsay’s book and the original photo’s at the Archives.

mrchangeover on February 29, 2008 at 2:37 pm

I was down to the Archives a year ago and found a couple of the Palace. The best one is from the stage looking out but I have never seen it on any website. Brings back memories for me from when I used to go there when I was in high school.
The presentation of movies at the Palace was the best I saw in Hamilton. Good use of the stage lighting a curtains, nice clean show. Most other theatres in Hamilton back then had atrocious showmanship. No curtains, slap on the movie and that was it…even the Capitol.

mortonbg on February 29, 2008 at 12:03 pm

Not sure if these lincs will work… There are pictures of the Palace on the Ont Achives website.

View link
View link
View link
View link

if this doesn’t work then goto
View link
and search using the words Palace Theatre Hamilton.


schmadrian on February 29, 2008 at 11:31 am

“If this had happened then the Palace might have lasted until the late 1980’s as a cinema, likely closing at the same time as the Century and Tivoli (September 1989).Both of the theatres ended up owned by the same company who was not affiliated with Famous Players or Odeon (later Cineplex)”

Brian: Thanks for this very intriguing tidbit; I hadn’t realized that they weren’t part of either company’s chains…even though I’m sure I have the info laying about here somewhere.

For years I’ve been putting together info for a planned online resource for Hamilton cinema history; drop me an email if you’re interested in chatting about this stuff.

mortonbg on February 29, 2008 at 11:23 am

One last Palace Story for today.

Back in the mid 80’s there was a teacher I knew from Elizabeth Bagshaw Elementary in the East End. He was a theatre guy who did Gilbert and Sullivan musicals with the kids in the school which later was given to the Catholic Board and became the current Bishop Ryan High School.

He had a standing deal with Theatre Aquarius to pick up their sets and scenery which were often thrown out after productions.

He had a big storage room at the school which was full of scenery. I used to borrow this stuff for my own theatre porductions. Also in this store room he had an 8 foot long chunk of the Palace’s balcony Railing, which he had fished out of the dumpster… I wonder if it surved??

mortonbg on February 29, 2008 at 11:15 am

What should have happened is that one of the two theatres should have been retained and subdivided internally as a multiplex. This is what happened to very similar Thomas Lamb theatres like the Loews in Montreal, the Uptown and Imperial in Toronto.

I know for sure that the two theatres (Palace and Capitol) were torn down in 1973. There are very sad pictures in HPL Special Collections taken from the Spectator building next store of the roof coming off the Capitol. Also the Palace’s entire front section was demolished. The Beauty salon is a whole new construction from 1973.

Somewhere I have a file with all of the photocopies of the clippings I did twenty years back when I first got interested in these fine lost buildings.

If this had happened then the Palace might have lasted until the late 1980’s as a cinema, likely closing at the same time as the Century and Tivoli (September 1989).Both of the theatres ended up owned by the same company who was not affiliated with Famous Players or Odeon (later Cineplex).

The advantage of this is that it could be reversed. Both the Imperial in Montreal and Toronto were restored this way. Even the Mtl Loews (which is a cool health club gym) survives as single auditorium.

schmadrian on February 29, 2008 at 7:58 am

I’d say ‘No’. (I’ve lived in Hamilton or surrounding environs most of my life. I was there when the Century went dark, the Tivoli, the Hyland, the Towne, the Avon, Main West, Delta, Centre Mall, the Cinema Theatre…even the SkyWay Drive-in.)

There was too much behind supporting Hamilton Place, no concessions would have been granted along the way, etc. Politicians wanted “New, new, new!‘ Hamilton, by the time the early 70s arrived, was, paradoxically, heading into its decline.

To think, this location now houses a beauty supply shop. Sad.

The mayor at the time of Jackson Square’s building eerily predicted that unless development was effected east of this downtown development…where the Palace stood…then nothing good would, in the end, result from the boom. And wouldn’t ya know it? He was right.

mrchangeover on February 29, 2008 at 7:18 am

Brian Morton wrote:“ The feeling was that the big theatres had had their day.”

Brian: For sure. The Palace would have made a terrific multi-use theatre but which city councillor at the time would have argued to keep the Palace when a project like Hamilton Place was needed to improve that area of downtown?
I have been gone from the city since the end of 1961 so I am out of touch with the arts scene there (still a Ti-Cat fan though!). Looking back since the demolition of the Palace……can anyone assess today whether there would have been enough events and local use to keep it open along with Hamilton Place?

schmadrian on February 29, 2008 at 4:39 am

Hang on… I have the Odeon opening in ‘73. The Palace was gone by then.

At the start of the 70s…right before we have the Palace and Capitol being demolished, the downtown looks like this: The Hyland, the Century, the Tivoli. The Odeon has yet to open, as does the Jackson Square two-plex. The periphery markets, extending down Barton, out towards the east end, and out towards Mac, are another story entirely.