Royal Theatre Heritage Site Plaque

Site P2:
Royal Theatre Heritage Site Plaque
Location:
289 Algonquin Avenue (Parkette)
Evaluation Score:
N/A

The Royal Theatre, under various names and owners, was one of North Bay’s most important cultural and entertainment venues for close to forty years. Built in 1908, and designed by H.W. Angus, the Royal Theatre, also called the North Bay Opera House and the New Royal Theatre, was in business on and off again until 1951. That year the theatre was closed and the building was purchased from Famous Players by C.B. Sibbitt, who ran an electrical supply and radio repair shop in the same building. The original theatre featured a 70-foot wide stage. A lit overhang and marquee once marked the building’s central entrance.

The Royal Theatre opened on September 7, 1908 with a performance by the Three Little Maids Company. Over the following decade it hosted live-theatre and musical entertainment provided by professional and amateur companies. In the 1910s and 1920s, silent motion pictures held sway until the advent of “talkies.”

Closed for a short period of time in the early 1930s, the Royal Theatre was purchased by Famous Players in 1936, when it was remodeled and renovated. The 800-seat theatre reopened in 1937 under the direction of the Hansen Theatre Company. Over the years the theatre hosted various political rallies and served as the venue for numerous dramatic and musical presentations and civic events. During and after WWII, the Air Defence Filter Centre worked out of the building, training civilian volunteers as members of Canada’s Air Defence team.

Since the building closed as a theatre, many large and small businesses have been tenants of 269 Main Street West over the years. In 1988, C&C Properties purchased the building, restored the original brickwork, installed a new roof, and modernized the interior.