Snowdon Theatre

5225 Boulevard Decarie,
Montreal, QC H3W

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: United Theatres

Architects: Emmanuel Biffra, Daniel John Crighton

Styles: Art Deco

Nearby Theaters

Snowdon Theatre

An attractive neighborhood theatre for about forty-five years. The Snowdon Theatre was opened by United Theatres in February 27, 1937. The opening programme featured Sonje Henie in “One in a Million” and Claire Trevor in “15 Maiden Lane” plus vaudeville on the stage including Billy Munro and His Orchestra. It had an interior decorated by interior designer Emmanuel Biffra. In 1950 the entrance façade was modified and a new marquee was added.

In 1968 it went over to screening X-Rated movies. In 1972 it played Charlie Chaplin movies for a year before switching back to adult movies. It closed in 1982 and was converted into retail stores. Last used for retail use and also a gymnasium, they were closed down due to the condition of the building, and it then sat empty and boarded up. In 2016 the vacant building was set on fire by vandals and most of it was destroyed.

In April 2019 it was announced that the theatre would be demolished to build condos. The façade will be retained. By late-April 2019 the building had gone, apart from a section of the façade.

Contributed by Gerald A. DeLuca

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

CSWalczak on September 16, 2010 at 12:57 pm

Three pictures of the former Snowdon appear on this blog page: View link

Apple IIGS
Apple IIGS on June 17, 2014 at 3:18 pm

Update as of June 2014: All tenants of the building have been permanently evicted due to unsound roof conditions (leaking and rapidly deteriorating). The city of Montreal has bordered it up and refusing to carry out any repairs.

Likely it will suffer the same fate as other Montreal theaters bordered up and left to the elements. Disturbing as there is a literal treasure of art-deco on the walls and ceiling of the original theater still intact (for now).

rivest266 on August 18, 2017 at 6:42 pm

French language grand opening ad in the photo section. It opened on February 27th, 1937.

Apple IIGS
Apple IIGS on September 1, 2017 at 3:03 pm

Update for 2016-17: In late March 2016, vandals started a serious fire that caused major damage to the roof. The theater has been completely boarded and abandoned since.

In May 2017, the city tentatively sold the building to a condo developer, with a request they preserve the theater’s marquee sign and building facade. Nothing about saving the interior or art-deco was said (i.e. the part worth saving!). Of course there’s no guarantee any of it will be saved, it could just be outright demolished.

As of September 2017, the Snowdon theater still sits abandoned and deteriorating.

rivest266 on August 4, 2018 at 11:27 am

I, a Woman reopened a week later at the Fairview cinemas in Pointe Claire. another article Snowdon theatreSnowdon theatre Thu, Aug 15, 1968 – 3 · The Gazette (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) ·

rivest266 on April 16, 2019 at 3:10 pm

To be torn down except for the facade for a new condo project. Ad in photo section.

Apple IIGS
Apple IIGS on April 24, 2019 at 3:52 am

I drove by in recent weeks, looking up from the expressway below. I only had a quick glimpse, but what I managed to see—or rather what I did not see, shocked me! Behind the front wall was absolutely nothing, just empty space. The entire building has been demolished to the ground, nothing is left.

That the front facade (couple of inches) and the marquee sign were preserved are meaningless. It’s just a hallow gesture, a false mask, to (partial) obscure the ugly modern condo building going up behind it. The important part worth saving was the intricate and jaw dropping art deco from nearly century ago on the the walls and ceiling inside. Was any of it saved? This being Montreal, I think the likely answer is no.

Also worth mention, the lettering on the marquee sign was modified for petty political reasons years after the theater closed. So not even that is original. Yet another beautiful landmark in Montreal…destroyed. Sigh.

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