Archive for the ‘C P Gregory’ Tag

Granville Street – 800 block, west side (3)

We’ve looked at the west side of this block of Granville looking north is previous posts, but not looking south, from Robson Street. The picture dates from 1951, when there were still plenty of competing cinemas with vertical blade signs. On the east side wire the Capitol and the Orpheum; the bigger theatres on the block, but the Paradise and Plaza had equally large signs, even if their capacity was less. The Paradise opened in 1938, showing Paul Robeson in “The Big Fella”. The 1938 art deco facade was designed by Thomas Kerr, and the cinema had 790 seats. This wasn’t the first cinema here, in 1912 The Globe opened, designed by an engineer, C P Gregory, for the Pacific Amusement Company. It cost $40,000, and three years later was altered by new owners the Hope Investment Company. There were further alterations a year later, when W P Nichols was shown as the owner, and in 1922 a pipe organ was installed. The theatre was taken over by Odeon in 1941 who later refurbished and reopened it as the Coronet Theatre in 1964 showing Peter Sellers in “The Pink Panther”. In 1976 the cinema was twinned – two smaller screens allowed less popular movies to be shown. The Coronet cinema closed in 1986, although that wasn’t the end of its movie-house story.

Odeon also acquired the Plaza Theatre just up Granville Street in the early 1960s. Their theatre was three doors to the south of the Paradise, as we saw in an earlier post photographed in 1974. That was another Thomas Kerr design, from 1936, which was a rebuild of the 1908 Maple Leaf Theatre. Today it’s Venue, a nightclub that (until recent restrictions) had live music as well as DJs. As other cinemas closed on Granville, Odeon decided to close the Plaza, and acquired the Vermilyea Block (next to the Plaza), designed by William Blackmore in 1893 and operated for years as The Palms Hotel. They also demolished 855 Granville, a 1920 office building developed by J F Mahon. They combined the Paradise and the two adjacent buildings and in 1987 the Cineplex Granville 7 opened, with a total of over 2,400 seats in seven cinemas in a building that incorporated the facade of both the Vermilyea and the Coronet, with a new building between. The cinema closed in 2012 as the Empire Granville, and is now being redeveloped as The Rec Room, another Cineplex entertainment complex, but with no movie element.

On the corner today is the Mason Robson Centre which a few years ago replaced the Farmer Building, and incorporated the facade of the Power Block, a 1929 Townley and Matheson art deco building. The demolished back of the building dated back to 1888, when it was developed by Captain William Power, of North Vancouver, who hired N S Hoffar to design it. The tall building to the south is the Medical Arts Building, a $100,000 investment developed by J J Coughlin and designed by Maurice Helyer in 1922 (and still used as office space today). John J Coughlin ran a Vancouver construction company – the biggest in the city. His company built the $200,000 Second Hotel Vancouver, a block from here to the north. The small building to the south is now missing the design elements initially included by architect James Keagey for his clients recorded in the building permit as ‘Powers and Boughton’ in 1913. Actually they were John E Powis and G E Broughton, real estate agents and developers.

Image source: City of Vancouver archives CVA 772-8

1024