Capitol Theatre: Then and Now
by Dick Nieuwendyk
The Capitol opened on 2nd April, 1921 for the Famous Players. The opening programme had Cecil B. DeMilles motion picture “Forbidden Fruit” as the main attraction. It could originally seat over 2600 (seating was somewhat reduced a couple decades later) and was one of the most grandiose and luxurious theaters ever built in Montréal.
It was called “Canada’s Greatest Playhouse” in opening day newspaper ads.
The main feature of the auditorium was the elaborate coffered ceiling, together with giant Corinthian columns lining the walls. An unusual feature was the organ pipes set into the alcoves above the box seats on the side-walls.
By the 50s, it had become a roadshow house with long runs of blockbuster epics. For instance, “The Ten Commandments” ran for more than a year in 1956-57.
Air conditioning was also installed during this period of time.
The Capitol was closed and demolished in 1973, to make way for an office building.
The Theatre was located at 890 Rue Sainte Catherine W.
Source: Cinema Treasures
The Capitol Theatre, about 1925 (McCord Museum Archives)
The view today – 1913 (Photo: Dick Nieuwendyk)