Friday, August 20, 2010

The Stanley and Neighbours

In 1930 Frederick Guest, the owner of a chain of theatres in Southern Ontario, visited Vancouver. And fell in love with the city. He decided that he had to have a theatre here so he hired Henry Holdsby Simmons, a Vancouver architect, to design one. Hence the Stanley was born.

On December 5, 1930 the theatre opened with a screening of One Romantic Night, Lillian Gish's first talkie. The Stanley was the place to go, the only theatre where on a Saturday a young movie goer could catch two matinees for the high price of a dime. The Stanley also held live entertainment shows during it's early days.

In 1941 the theatre was sold to Famous Players and the neon sign was installed. During World War II fundraisers for the war effort were held. Also during the forties the Stanley would hold surprise screenings on Thursdays and the place would be filled.

During the 1950s and 60s though, with the introduction of television, attendence dropped. To try to combat the decline, the Stanley would bring in blockbusters and, for a price, seats could be reserved. The theatre also installed high-performance sound and projection systems as well as refurbishing the seats during the seventies and eighties. But sadly the doors closed in 1991 and it looked like this piece of Vancouver history was destined to decay and disappear.

But in March of 1997 the old dame was purchased and, with a little help from Granville Street merchants, reborn. Now it is home to live theatre and there are times I see crowds of people lined up outside. If I squint really hard, I bet you I could see the ladies and gents there for the grand opening that winter night 80 years ago.

This fine old building used to be the home of the Pittman Business School. Now the sign reads Kaplan and it seems like it is an office building. With food and drink on the lower floor.

This area is known as south Granville and it is a premiere shopping area. The buildings, as you can see, are majestic and imposing. Some are very old, some are new. Some are block style buildings like here whereas others present a more interesting architectural view.

Looking at buildings, the way they are shaped, the loving care they've had, or haven't had, can take up a lot of time. Take a look at this one.

It is a fine bulding that appears to have been well taken care of. Too bad we can't say the same for all the older buildings in town.

The above photo was taken downtown just off of Hastings Street.

The effects of time, poverty and perhaps lack of interest can be seen. Just like a person these old buildings need care and love.

I hope you see the beauty around you.

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