Electric Vaudeville

CVA 447-395 Avenue Theatre. 1935 WE Frost

CVA 447-395 Avenue Theatre. 1935, WE Frost photo.

The building pictured above at the corner of Main Street and what was then the eastern end of the Georgia Viaduct is what was once a centre of Vancouver vaudeville, the Avenue Theatre building. The Avenue was a little off the beaten path (Hastings Street) of Vancouver vaudeville theatres, but it had a significant, although brief, period in the spotlight.  It first appeared in BC Directories in 1911 and it seems to have become a spent force by the early 1930s – just as motion pictures were eclipsing live theatre.

By the time this image was made, the Theatre had been closed for about four years and the structure apparently housed a variety of commercial enterprises (from a moving/storage facility to a shoe repair service). Within a decade, the building faced the wrecker’s ball to make room for the still-standing, late-art deco-styled, Murrin substation (one of BC Hydro’s network of electrical substations).

A slideshow with a few Avenue-related images appear below.

Related Sources:
• For a visual review of several other Hastings-area Vancouver theatres, see this slideshow compilation I assembled a few months ago.
• For a detailed history on the Imperial Theatre (better known to some contemporary Vancouverites, perhaps, as the Venus, a porn palace) which was across Main street from the Avenue Theatre, see this piece.
•Finally, this is an impressive scanned reference book assembled during the vaudeville period for vaudevillians. It includes the sort of information that players would want to know about a city (e..g., hotels near theatres, food/beverage purveyors, train ticket costs and timetables).

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