Lyceum Theatre

292 Portage Avenue,
Winnipeg, MB R3C 0B8

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RHBUCK on October 4, 2010 at 6:33 pm

Parts of Lyceum Smith organ used in St Albans Rathgar (Tuba,Diapason,
Tibia(stored) and main chests combined with Warren pipework and Console by Organ man Radcliffe

kencmcintyre on September 8, 2007 at 4:22 pm

Here is an August 1945 ad from the Winnipeg Free Press:

garmiles on March 5, 2006 at 7:19 am

No connection between the Lyceum Theatre and Lyceum Photo Studio.

hbfast on March 1, 2006 at 7:43 am

Does anyone know if the Lyceum Photo Studio in Winnipeg, next door at 290 Portage Avenue, was affiliated with the Lyceum Theatre and the owners? Any history of the studio?

garmiles on December 11, 2005 at 6:57 am

Sam: I’m sorry, I didn’t know there was a pipe organ in the theatre even though as a kid I used to go there regularly. Also, I don’t have much knowledge on the history of the Downtown (Rialto), except the following:

1) It was located on the north side of Portage Avenue btween Edmonton and Carleton streets
2) The building was owned by Alex Mitchell, who owned almost every building on Portage north at the time.
3) It was transferred to my father around 1972 from Western Theatres as part of the Famous Players dispute over the Northstar.
4) It ran soft porn films in the late 60’s and 70’s.
5) It was expropriated in the early 1980’s for the construction of Portage Place shopping center.

I hope this helps.


PGlenat on December 11, 2005 at 6:02 am

GAR, do you have any idea when the organ was removed from the Lyceum and where it might have ended up? As I recall as part of the Northstar complex, now Radisson, a twin screen theatre was built which replaced the demolished Lyceum. It too no longer exists. Also, do you have any more info on the Rialto aka Downtown theatre? It should be added to Cinema Treasures.

garmiles on December 11, 2005 at 5:33 am

This theatre was owned and operated by Western Theatres Ltd., which was a 50-50 partnership between Famous Players and Richard Miles (originally his father Jack Miles), a Winnipeg business man at the time. Western also owned and operated the Airliner, Pembina and Eldorado drive-in theatres, the Downtown (formerly the Rialto) theatre, the Airliner Hotel and other businesses. It was Western that built the Northstar Inn (now the Radisson) on the site in 1968. That project suffered many setbacks which led to the breakup of the partnership, with Famous Players ending up with 100% ownership of the hotel.

Gary Miles (son of Richard

PGlenat on July 20, 2005 at 4:57 pm

Tim, the Garrick is closed and now part of the Ramada Marlborough hotel, currently a conference centre (theatre interior totally gutted for current use). Capitol, 1920, designed by Thomas Lamb, demolished summer 2003 after years of neglect (it could have been saved if someone had paid attention). Metropolitan, 1919, designed by C Howard Crane, closed and boarded up since 1988, under city ownership, but no one has come forward with a practical use for the property. Interior has some of the fittings remaining, (chandeliers, wall sconces and some seats),all other ornamental detail was painted over years ago, as well as any other fittings removed, including
film equipment. It’s in grim condition otherwise and it would take a ton of money to restore. They have, however, repaired the roof and installed electric furnaces as well as a security system.
Currently the city has two other theatres on the books; the 1914 Pantages Playhouse (fully restored as a performing arts centre)and the 1907 Walker aka Odeon, recently renamed Burton Cummings Performing Arts Centre, used primarily for performing arts, rock concerts, etc. All the film equipment was stripped from the premises when Odeon abandoned the theatre in the 1980’s. Ongoing renovations as money permits.

telliott on July 20, 2005 at 3:13 pm

What about the Garrick, Metropolitan and Capitol? Are they still standing. Can’t believe that Cineplex Odeon only has Grant Park, I guess that will change now that they are taking over Famous Players.

PGlenat on July 20, 2005 at 3:03 pm

I think SOM played at the Kings for about two years. I was away from the city for a long time. It was playing when I left and it was still playing there when I came back.. Currently the Kings is a flea market. Other than that the exterior looks the same as it did when it was a theatre. The marquee and ‘Kings’ neon signs are still there, along with the poster cases on the front of the building. Only the letters that said ‘theatre’ have been removed. The Colony (aka Gaiety, Eve) disappeared some time ago in a fit of urban renewal when everything on the north side of Portage Avenue was demolished to make way for Investors Syndicate headquarters office building.

telliott on July 20, 2005 at 2:49 pm

Speaking of theatres in Winnipeg, what ever happened to the Odeon Kings and the Colony? I rembember them when I visited years ago and the Kings seemed to be a major release venue. Didn’t “The Sound of Music” play there for a long time?

PGlenat on July 20, 2005 at 2:03 pm

A recent comment about another theatre with an auditorium floor that sloped downward as usual, then swept upwards again close to the screen just reminded me that the Lyceum also had the same idiosyncracy.
I recall that the screen seemed to be close to the back wall, with little or no stage house behind it and for that matter no proscenium either, which makes me think that a remodelling had been carried out. The stage, organ chambers and orchestra pit were probably removed in that remodelling, the screen moved back and the orchestra pit filled in. As I recall drapes surrounded the screen including a matching valance above the screen. This extended around to the sides as far as the emergency exit doors on either side of the screen. No proscenium was visible. Even with the more modern seating that was installed allowing for wider seats and more leg room, capacity would have remained almost the same as before by using the extra space that was gained by demolishing the stage area and extending the auditorium floor forward.

PGlenat on February 1, 2005 at 8:05 pm

Actually it isn’t. Several theaters predated it, including the Burton Cummings aka Walker which opened in 1907, the Bijou 1915, The Orpheum, Dominion, Winnipeg, Pantages, and if I dig far enough there’s a few more…all of which were in existence before the Lyceum (1920). Unfortunately, some of the info is very sketchy or non existent. Also, some of the theaters started life as live performance venues (vaudeville, etc) and gravitated to film later on as part of their presentations, with movies eventually taking over completely.

grandcameo on February 1, 2005 at 7:51 pm

This was also apparently the very first theatre in Winnipeg.