Garrick Centre

330 Garry Avenue,
Winnipeg, MB R3B 2G6

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Showing 26 - 46 of 46 comments

PGlenat on February 5, 2005 at 6:53 pm

Thanks for the update PT. Any additional information would be welcome.
The following info was gleaned from a book on pipe organs in the province, with a brief section on theater organs.
The Garrick opened Sept 8, 1928, with an address by the mayor which was broadcast on a local radio station. The Wicks organ was reported as having 3 manuals and 150 stops (actually 12 ranks with a lot of unification) plus percussion and chimes. It took 3 months to build at the factory and another six weeks to install in the Garrick. Extensive structural changes to the theater were necessary to accomodate the organ.The console was finished in ivory, decorated in gold and shaded with brown. Visiting organist Margaret Earl accompanied the premiere film ‘Passion’ starring Emil Jannings and Pola Negri. It then goes on claiming “no conception of it’s powers is possible from the previous hearing of organs in this city as nothing like it has been installed before….” Finally it says that the organ was dismantled by inexperienced people in 1953, suffering considerable pipe damage and then placed in storage. It makes sense that the organ was stored at the Walker as there was far more room under that stage than at the Garrick and they were both owned by Odeon. Also the theater was about to be divided and they would have needed the room.
Any additonal info is much appreciated.
I’ll have to check on the theater organ broadcasts from Australia on the internet. There is nothing on the air locally. Occasionally ‘Pipe Dreams’ features theater organs on their program, but I can only get that off the net, since we’re too far away from any NPR station here… unless I want to hike it to Minneapolis, about 450 miles away.

pataylor on February 5, 2005 at 5:34 pm

sam_e and others
The Garrick (before twinning) had 3 aisles from screen to back wall.
Source: The seat diagram from the ticket booth counter. (vintage unknown).
The Garrick Theatre Organ was stored under the stage of the Walker (Odeon) where we retrieved it after purchase. (For a pittance, I might add)
If HMcK will confirm that the Agnes Forsythe that we have referred to is the one s/he is seeking info on, I will check to see if her local friend is still around and has anything to contribute.

For theatre pipe organ nuts (er, fans), be aware of a weekly broadcast from Australia on the net. Fridays 6 PM PST. Search for RTRFM. You will need Windows Media Player and you can save the music with Windows Movie Maker. All vintages presented from mono records to the latest CDs.

If anyone wants the (long) story of the Garrick’s pipe organ’s rebirth posted – just say so, here. I plan to make a completely new colour pamphlet one of these days with a brief history, the restoration story and specs.
‘Nuff ramblings for now,
Regards, PT

grandcameo on February 5, 2005 at 3:02 pm

Wow! I missed the golden days.

Anyone (sam_e) know the architects of the original, twin and addition?

PGlenat on February 5, 2005 at 1:17 pm

It would seem that Cineplex Odeon took better care of the Garrick than they did with the Odeon-Walker nearby. Much of the interior decor, seats and carpeting is exactly the same as it was when they remodelled that theater in the late 40’s, and it has a definite down-at-the-heels look to it. I’m sure that the Walker was a money loser for them in later years being such a large single screen theater, hence the lack of maintenance and updating.
Visualize the Garrick 1 & 2 as a single screen house with deep flamingo pink walls and ceiling, teal blue accents and upholstered seats in a dark plum color. It sounds as if they salvaged those yard spotlights from out of the cabinets on either side of the organ console to focus on the screen, since that’s what was in them.

grandcameo on February 5, 2005 at 12:18 pm

And then the theatre was largely gutted, slightly expanded, and opened with two screens in a similar style on May 21, 1968?

In the duplex/fourplex, they never renovated. It was in such remarkable condition. The carpet was great, the walls were great… it seemed that the building was entirely cared for.

As for the sconces, they had a trough cove running down the left and right side. Its hard to explain how it exactly worked, but they had blue and red lights there that washed the grey walls in either of those colours. It would alternate in blue and red sections of lights.

Also on the screen in Cinemas 1 & 2, they had foot and ceiling spots of red and blue (similar to the coloured version of household yard flood lights on motion detectors) pointing on the screens, washing them in red and blue as well. All of the theatre’s curtains were put out of operation in 1998 due to ‘service issues’.

Cinema 1 had a deeply curved Cinerama D150 screen. The picture on this screen in its final years was amazing, but the credits could make you laugh at how they were strecthed AND squished!

PGlenat on February 5, 2005 at 12:01 pm

Had to run back and check the pics on that site again. Yes, it looks similar to what I recall. The ceiling was divided into bays with shallow beams spanning the auditorium. There were matching shallow square pillars along the side walls with a wall fixture on each pillar. The overhead beams had indirect lighting concealed in a trough on each ceiling beam. It was one of those ceiling bays that collapsed shortly after the early 50’s remodelling. After it was repaired, if you looked closely you could see where it had been replastered. I never sat under that section after that.

grandcameo on February 5, 2005 at 11:35 am

By lighting troughs, do you mean it was similar to what the ceiling looks like now (in those pics) with a recess paralel to the seats, with a light bar?

PGlenat on February 3, 2005 at 8:02 pm

HMcK. Agnes Forsythe was indeed an accomplished musician. She was well known locally as a performing artist, appearing at the Garrick and other theaters, on radio and in recital, as well as an accompanist. I believe that she was also a church organist. Unfortunately, the people that I knew who would have known her closely are no longer around, so I can’t give you more details than that. If I find out more I’ll post the info.

PGlenat on February 3, 2005 at 7:47 pm

The Garrick, post 1950’s remodelling, didn’t have a particularly spectacular interior. In fact it was fairly plain. The predominant colors were painted flamingo pink and teal blue. If there was a stage house, it wasn’t apparent since the screen was fairly close to the front of the stage apron immediately behind the curtain. The organ console was ivory with gold accents, along with the silly boxes with colored lights inside on either side of it. The console was on the floor in the center below the screen. It was always in plain sight so I don’t believe it was ever on a lift. The organ grilles on either side of the proscenium were fairly plain also. Wall lights and trough fixtures provided the lighting. There was no chandelier.
Because of the layout, you walked up ramps and arrived at the cross aisle. From there you could walk down aisles to the orchestra seats or up to the loge/mezzanine seats. I can’t recall how many aisles there were up and least two, maybe more. A short flight of stairs went from the lobby down to the restrooms. The current photos of the lobby/concession area look vaguely like the layout as it was then, although it was better looking than that.

grandcameo on February 3, 2005 at 7:27 pm

No one loved this theatre more than me!

Does anyone have pictures of the inside (pre 1968 expansion)?

HMcK on February 3, 2005 at 6:42 pm

PT and sam_e,
You both mention an Agnes Forsythe – was she married to JR Harrod? (Sorry this has nothing to do with the cinema, rather a family search but the Agnes I am looking for was apparently an accomplished musician.

grandcameo on February 2, 2005 at 9:05 pm

Cinemas 3 & 4 were located on the site of an old parking lot. When the Ramada was digging up Cinema 3 for the pool, they discovered:
a. An ancient aboriginal garbage site
b. an underground stream

The screens were kind of small in these theatres, but in 1 & 2, there was nice big screens, balcony stadium seating, as well as a sloped floor, among outher things. The ceiling in 1 was orangey-red and the ceiling in 2 was purple. The ceiling had 6 vaults with a lite bar in them, and coloured rectangles. Each theatre also had red, black and purple seats.

For pictures of the Cineplex Odeon Garrick Cinemas that I took, please visit: (Click Pictures, then scroll down to “Singles, Doubles, Tripples, Quads”, and it will be under Cineplex Odeon Garrick Cinemas 4).

Also: (I whipped this webpage up in a few hours. Click Conference Centre in the top grid).

PGlenat on February 2, 2005 at 4:08 pm

Where were Cinemas 3 & 4 located? My days in the Garrick were when it was a single screen house. It had a forerunner of stadium seating with a cross aisle dividing the loges from the orchestra. Loge seating was more expensive. There had been one remodelling back in the early 50’s. New seats were installed and true to the times the organ console was sandwiched between two triangular boxes containg ripple glass and lit with multi colored lights inside. Shortly after the work had been completed the ceiling caved in. I believe the theater was empty at the time, so no injuries were reported, the ceiling was replastered and the theater reopened. You always knew if there was going to be an organ performance during intermission when the organist came down the aisle and disappeared through one of the exit doors next to the screen. Then you’d hear the blower start up. I gather that the blower controls were backstage.

grandcameo on February 2, 2005 at 3:48 pm

The single screen Garrick opened in 1929. The skeleton of the building (Cinemas 1 & 2) is the original 1929 structure.

It had 1917 seats:
Cinema 1= 607 Seats
Cinema 2= 778 Seats
Cinema 3= 260 Seats
Cinema 4= 272 Seats

grandcameo on February 1, 2005 at 4:39 pm

Here’s the Garrick’s old equipment:
(Compiled from

Cinema 1:
2- Cinemecannica VICTORIA 10 Projectors
2- Xebex Supersol 4kw Lamphouses
Cinemation MKIV Automation

*A Potts Platter later replaced the right machine in 1999.
Dolby Digital Sound

Cinema 2:
2- Ballantyne VIP Pro 35 (35/70mm) Projectors
2- Strong Ultra 80 5kw Lamphouses
Cinemation MKIV Automation

*A Potts Platter later replaced the left machine in 1980.
DTS Digital Sound

Cinema 3:
2- Cinemeccanica VICTORIA 8 Projectors
2- Strong Super Lume-X 1.6kw Lamphouses
BTS Pegboard Automation

*A Potts Platter later replaced the right machine in 1980.
Mono Sound

Cinema 4:
2- Ballantyne VIP Pro 35 (35/70mm) Projectors
2- Strong Super 80 3kw Lamphouses
BTS Pegboard Automation

*A Potts Platter later replaced the left machine in 1999.
Dolby Stereo Sound

IMO, The Garrick was the best place to catch a movie. Sadly, its closure was not made public until the day after it closed.

PGlenat on January 3, 2005 at 4:57 am

PT. Information regarding the fate of the Garrick (Wicks) organ came from various sources, some of it hearsay. Some also came from a book on pipe organs located in this province. Unfortunately the information contained in the book on local theater organs is incomplete, incorrect, or in some cases nonexistent, other than saying a particular theater had once contained an organ. It had been reported that due to mishandling by inept persons during removal and storage, much of the Garrick organ had been damaged. Thankfully, you were able to salvage and restore it.
I do recall that Agnes Forsythe as well as Allan Caron were featured
artists playing the Garrick organ and have heard both of them play. By the time I returned to this city, the theater was closed, the organ and the players were gone. For that matter, only two theater organs originally here are still in operation. Both have been reinstalled (with modifications) in local churches. I’ve since tracked down three others, as well as a Fotoplayer, all currently in Ontario.

pataylor on January 2, 2005 at 10:33 pm

The Garrick Theatre Pipe Organ is privately owned by yours truly and has been playing since 1986. It is installed in a restored state (tonally UNmodified) in a specially built studio in a Vancouver suburb. It was first played after its partial restoration by a close friend of the last organist, Agnes Forsythe. Hope this clears things a bit.

Regards, PT

PGlenat on October 21, 2004 at 12:57 pm

Ramada Marlborough has no plans to reinstate the Garrick as a movie house. It is to be converted into a conference center. As a side note, the organ which was very much a part of the original theatre before being converted to multi screen was dismantled in 1953 but stored in the theatre until 1975 when it was sold and removed. At last report the organ was owned by the BC Theatre Organ Trust with plans to install it in a civic theatre in a Vancouver suburb.

Kirk on October 8, 2003 at 12:44 pm

The Garrick 4 closed in 2002. The building is still standing but it is doubtful that it will reopen as a cinema.

grandcameo on June 18, 2002 at 7:30 am

The Garrick was bought by the RAMADA MARLBOROUGH INN and will become a swimming pool and conference theatre.

ChadIrish on June 11, 2002 at 12:02 pm

The Garrick Cinemas closed its doors forever on March 14th 2002 with a final 9:50 PM showing of “Super Troopers”