116 Sparks Street,
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This theatre remained independently owned and operated into the 1950’s when it became affiliated with the Odeon chain. It was opened as the Centre Theatre in 1915 by one of Ottawa’s prominent movie families, the Stapletons, who were among the original franchise holders of First National, the distributing arm of Warner Brothers.
The Centre Theatre had long twin ramps leading patrons to orchestra and balcony seats, and a stunning Beaux-Arts auditorium. Located on Sparks Street, it was in the heart of Ottawa’s first theatre district. In the late-1960’s, Odeon took over the operation from the family-run business and renamed it the Mall Theatre, to reflect the conversion of Sparks Street into an open-air pedestrian mall. The Mall Theatre showed cult movies and some soft-core porno before shutting its doors in 1973.
The backstage was demolished with the intention of building a large office complex on its site, but the proposal fell through, and the front of the original building remains, now used by small streetfront shops.
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