Neighbourhood - Buildings

Impérial



History

Between 1915 and 1921, a new type of cinema appeared in Montreal - the “super-palace” - popular at that time in major North American cities. Constructed in 1917 by United Theatres Limited, it was designed by architect David Jerome Spence and was one of six cinemas of its kind in Montreal.

Other more imposing movie theatres were built in the 1920s, but the Imperial had a large stage that could be used for vaudeville acts. After the 1929 stock market crash, the hall added even more shows, a source of inexpensive entertainment. With vaudeville declining, the theatre was rented for a few years by Ernest Ouimet, who showed French motion pictures there. In 1936, the theatre was purchased by Consolidated Theatres, the ancestor of Famous Players; in 1954, it was renovated and equipped with the Cinerama system. In the 1970s, the theatre was divided and used for a variety of purposes.

In 1980, Famous Players repurchased the theatre, updated the technology, and undertook a major restoration, turning it back into a single hall and giving it back its original lustre; the theatre re-opened in 1983. Faced with stiff competition, it changed vocation yet again in 1995, when it was donated to the World Film Festival by Viacom, parent company of Famous Players. Since then, it has been used for many cultural events: press or private screenings, film shoots, premieres, lectures, and more

Image : HM_ARC_001159

Imperial Theatre, Nicklodeon, Bleury St., Montreal, QC, 1913
Anonyme - Anonymous
1924, 20th century
20 cm x 25 cm
© McCord Museum, (MP-1977.140.18.1), © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005673

Imperial Theatre opening invitation card
1913
11.8 cm x 17.8 cm
© Cinéma Impérial, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_004654

Robonson’s clothes, tramway and Impérial Theatre
1921
© Ville de Montréal. Gestion de documents et archives (VM98 Y1 P012), © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005648

Imperial Theatre, exterior view with «Blood and Sand» and «The Gay Intruders» movie titles on the marquise
Circa 1948
12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3946 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005649

Imperial Theatre, exterior view with «Talking Pictures» written on the marquise

12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3937 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005659

Imperial Theatre, exterior view with «L'Agonie des aigles» movie title on the marquise
Circa 1933
12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3942 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005663

Imperial Theatre, view from the scene

12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3941 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005664

Imperial Theatre, side view on the seats

12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3939 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005665

Imperial Theatre, view toward the scene

12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3938 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005669

Imperial Theatre, exterior view with «L'Agonie des aigles» movie title on the marquise
Circa 1933
12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3943 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005670

Imperial Theatre, exterior view with «What Price Glory» and «Gallant Thoroughbred» movie titles on the marquise
Circa 1952
10.1 cm x 12.9 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3949 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005671

Imperial Theatre, exterior view with «Blood and Sand» and «The Gay Intruders» movie titles on the marquise
Circa 1948
12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3945 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005672

Imperial Theatre, view from the scene

12.8 cm x 10.1 cm
© Library and Archives Canada /MISA3944 , © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005674

Imperial Theatre, interior view, hall with part of «The Iron Glove» movie poster
Circa 1954
27.9 cm x 21.5 cm
© Cinéma Impérial, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005675

Imperial Theatre, view toward the scene

27.9 cm x 21.5 cm
© Cinéma Impérial, © Héritage Montréal

Image : HM_ARC_005676

Imperial Theatre, exterior view with «Cat Women of the Moon» and «Monster from the Ocean Floor» movie titles on the marquise
Circa 1954
27.9 cm x 21.5 cm
© Cinéma Impérial, © Héritage Montréal