646 Main Street,
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Architects: Alexander D. Melville
Previous Names: Regent Theatre, Rex Theatre
Built in 1913 for Winnipeg Tribune publisher and Member of Parliament, Robert L. Richardson, by Scottish born architect Alexander D. Melville, and intended exclusively for the purpose of showing films, this Grade II Listed building is one of the oldest surviving intact examples of of cinema architecture remaining in all of Canada. The building is long and narrow with a balcony and reminds me of the very similar Princess Theatre in Edmonton.
Originally this stretch of Main Street in Winnipeg contained 7 theatres in a two block area; they included the Elite (1903), the Bijou (1905), The Star (1907) the Royal/Starland (1909), the Fox (1940’s) and the Colonial. Of these only the Starland and the Epic remain standing today.
Owned by the City of Winnipeg for over twenty years, these two heritage buildings remained vacant and boarded up. In March 2008 these two were under imminent threat of demolition for a proposed medical complex. Demolition came to the Epic Theatre in May 2008.
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