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Cinema de Paris Then and now Montreal

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By: Dick Nieuwendyk – mtltimes.ca

Cinema de Paris – Saint Catherine street stretches for 11 kilometres across the city from east to west, and is Montreal’s main commercial artery lined with major department stores, shops and restaurants. In the mid 1700s it was a dirt road lined with farm fields, orchards and a few homes. In the late 1800s it became a busy street with large stores, churches and theatres. In 1907, Montreal had 53 theatres, and by 1914, there were around 100. Many of these were located on the downtown part of Saint Catherine street, showing films and offering vaudeville shows. One of them was the Cinema de Paris, built in 1912 as the Colonial Theatre. In 1915 it was renamed the Connaught (for the Duke of Connaught, Governor General of Canada). It then became the Regal Theatre in 1920, the Roxy in 1930, and the Cinema de Paris in 1931. In 1941, it became the Newsreel, the Victory in 1943, and back again to Cinema de Paris in 1945. It closed as a cinema in 1960.

In 1979 the building became home to Supersexe, a 400-capacity, 10,000 square foot club, which became one of the largest and most famous strip clubs in Montreal. Club Supersexe, with its huge, half-circular sign, sporting comic book-style sexy heroines flying across a sky, dressed in tiny bikinis and traditional capes and boots, featured some of the hottest dancers on the strip.

 

Cinema de Paris – ca 1940 The building is located at 896 Rue Sainte Catherine West. – Ville de Montréal, Gestion de documents et archives
Club Supersexe closed early 2016. – Photo: Dick Nieuwendyk

In the early 80s the club hosted “Tits for Tots”, a strip-a-thon fundraiser for the Montreal Children’s Hospital, organized by Lindalee Tracy, a stripper known by her stage name “Fonda Peters”. “Tits for Tots” became a city-wide annual charity event. In the mid 80s, Lindalee worked for CBC’s “As It Happens” and “Sunday Morning” . Here she met her husband, filmmaker Peter Raymont. The couple formed White Pine Pictures, an independent film and television production company, producing documentaries and docudramas. Lindalee died in 2006 at the age of 49 after a four-year battle with breast cancer. Tracey’s friends and family created the Lindalee Tracey Award to celebrate her memory and accomplishments. The annual award is presented to a Canadian filmmaker at the Hot Docs film festival in Toronto.

To see the article in the Montreal Times 22.66 May 13, 2017 edition please click on the above image

 

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