Elgin Theatre

216 Elgin Street,
Ottawa, ON K2P

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Elgin Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as a single screen theater in 1937, the Elgin added another auditorium in 1947, making it one of North America’s earliest two-screen theaters.

Famous Players closed the old Elgin Theatre in 1994.

Contributed by Cinema Treasures

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Hugger1
Hugger1 on March 28, 2006 at 9:11 am

Now the site of a “Pizza Pizza.”

Hugger1
Hugger1 on March 29, 2006 at 10:44 am

The theatres were known as Elgin 1 and Elgin 2, or in earlier times Elgin and Little Elgin.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 19, 2006 at 7:31 pm

The Wikipedia article to which Lost Memory links above is in error when it says that the Elgin was the first twin cinema in North America. The Alhambra Theatre in Alhambra, California was given a second auditorium in 1941.

The Wikipedia article is also apparently wrong when it gives a date of 1957 for the addition of a second auditorium to the Elgin Theatre. According to this article in the Canadian Magazine “Take One”, Nat Taylor created his first twin cinema in 1948.

The 2004 obituary of Nat Taylor in the University of Manitoba’s newspaper says that Taylor was operating a twin cinema in Ottawa “by 1948”. While the Elgin is not specifically named in either of these articles, it does seem likely that it is the theatre to which they refer.

AEM1968
AEM1968 on August 23, 2006 at 1:01 pm

The second screen at the Elgin did indeed open on December 31, 1947. It was the world’s first twin-screen cinema. In response to Hugger1, the Pizza Pizza is a couple doors down the same block. The building where the Elgin Theatre used to be has a Harvey’s, Johnny Farina’s restaurant, a Second Cup and a Great Canadian Bagel.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 7, 2009 at 9:03 pm

The Elgin turns out to have been Canada’s second dual-auditorium theater, according to an article in the April 5, 1947, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The article announced that Twentieth Century Theatres, a Toronto company allied with Famous Players, was planning to add a second auditorium to their Elgin Theatre in Ottawa. But the article also mentioned that a second auditorium was already under construction at the Allen Brothers' Hollywood Theatre in Toronto, and was expected to open shortly.

Three dual-auditorium theaters are known to have already been opened in the United States by that time- two in 1935 and one in 1941. However, these three, and the Hollywood in Toronto, were all operated under a policy of showing the same program in both of their auditoriums. The intention of the operators of the Elgin was to show an entirely different program, consisting of foreign language movies and special attractions, in the new auditorium. The Elgin was probably the first movie theater in the world to do this.

The Boxoffice article gives the seating capacity of the original Elgin as 800, and the capacity of the “Little Elgin” (as it was then being called) as 350.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 31, 2011 at 4:41 pm

“CASTLE KEEP” and “GOODBYE,COLUMBUS” were playing on june 1 1970.

Eric Evans
Eric Evans on February 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Here’s a photo I took of the Elgin when on holiday in 1991.
View link

DavidDymond
DavidDymond on February 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm

This was an old Twinex (Twentieth Century Theatre) house and in the mid-seventies it was dumpy. It had a puny Candy bar and I can remember watching movies in there and hearing the damn projectionist’s radio blaring in the booth. Old-time manager of this theatre was Ernie Warren an old Twinex manager.

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