Fairview/Roxy Theatre

Crop of CVA 447-348 - 7th Ave and Gran.[ville] Sts. - and showing Roxy (formerly Fairview) Theatre  1964 W E Frost. photo-2

Crop of CVA 447-348 – 7th Ave and Gran.[ville] Sts. 1964 W E Frost. photo. (VAIW Note: The Roxy Theatre is the light-coloured building with the marquee near the centre of the image).

There isn’t much known about the Fairview Theatre (1912-38), later called the Roxy Theatre (1939-55?). In fact, I have never before seen a photograph of the theatre.

According to the building permit for the Fairview (which appears in the permit database as being at 2222 Granville, but for all its history was listed in Vancouver directories at 2224 Granville), it was built in early 1911, apparently to cater specifically to “moving pictures”. This must have been one of the first such theatres in Vancouver; more typical were theatres that catered to vaudeville acts and, as vaudeville became scarcer, were modified to show movies.

We don’t know the capacity of the Fairview, but from the image, it appears to have been a relatively small theatre (I would guess fewer than 500)*. This seems to be confirmed by its estimated construction cost: $6,500. In contrast, the Dominion Theatre, which was built the same year on Granville near Nelson, was estimated to cost $50,000.

The owners/architects of the theatre in 1911 were identified on the building permit simply with their surnames: “Stark & Crosby”. The Stark side of the partnership may have been William McIntosh Stark, Vancouver’s aviation pioneer, who had an interest in a variety of cool stuff (e.g., automobiles, airplanes, and bicycles, when they were novel) – but this is only a hunch; I cannot prove it. Who Crosby was, I have no idea. The builder of the structure was William O’Dell.

The theatre stood on Granville Street, just south of the south end of Granville Bridge.

The little theatre was demolished, along with the retail shops along the east side of the 2200 block of Granville around 1964 (shortly after this image was made, I assume), in preparation for construction of the Pacific Press building that would open on this block in 1966.

Today, the lot on which the theatre stood is a green space adjacent to Panache Antiques.


*According to this site, the capacity of the Fairview/Roxy was 449.

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