Century Theatre

12 Mary Street,
Hamilton, ON L8

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Famous Players

Architects: Harold Solomon Kaplan, Abraham Sprachman

Firms: Kaplan & Sprachman

Styles: Art Deco, Renaissance Revival

Previous Names: Lyric Theatre

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News About This Theater

Century Theatre 1977

The Lyric Theatre opened in April 1913 with over 2,000 seats, as a vaudeville theatre. In 1914, the Keith Vaudeville Circuit had taken over and eventually movies were introduced.

It was extensively remodeled in 1922 and again in 1940 when it was purchased by 20th Century Theatres. They employed Toronto architects Kaplan & Sprachman to design a modern Art Deco style interior and it was renamed Century Theatre. Further remodeling was undertaken in 1967. It switched operators from 20th Century Theatres to Famous Players in 1979.

The theater closed in 1989 with “Lethal Weapon 2”, and stood empty and unused until January 2010, when it was demolished.

Contributed by Chad Irish, Ken Roe

Recent comments (view all 100 comments)

telliott on January 27, 2010 at 3:03 pm

What a shame!!!!!

hamiltonmark on January 27, 2010 at 4:30 pm

Was able to spend the mornings this week to watch the destruction of the Century. Spent time with Mark M. and I believe Rich and Rob who was a usher there in it’s last days as a movie theatre. Will post on facebook the pictures I took. Was also able to get one of the Hamilton red bricks from the outside walls and a white brick fron the original back wall of the stage area.

schmadrian on February 1, 2010 at 5:21 pm

As a result of the interest and the momentum generated in the Facebook page group, I’ve set up a blog as a means to an end; setting up an actual ‘memorial’ site for The Century.

That blog can be found here: [url]http://thecenturytheatre.blogspot.com/[/url]

All interested parties are invited to contribute.

scarf on February 4, 2010 at 11:22 am

I was at the demolition site last week and was able to pick up a couple of bricks. They both had the word HAMILTON stamped on them. Is it safe to assume these came from a local brick manufacturer from the period?

schmadrian on February 4, 2010 at 12:57 pm

There is a long-standing brick company on Lawrence Road, at the base of the Niagara Escarpment, just west of Ottawa Street. It seems entirely likely that what you found might well have originated here.

SilentToronto on July 13, 2010 at 2:43 pm

I found a Century Theatre ticket stub for a reserved-seating screening of THE TEN COMMANDMENTS. Check it out at SilentToronto.com!

TivFan on May 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

For a great 1940’s photo of the Century exterior, see John Sebert’s “Glamorous Ghosts” at: www.hamiltonmagazine.com/sitepages/?aid. I’d hadn’t seen this photo before. During the demolition, I got one of the wall anchors that the chain, that supported the horizontal canopy, was attached to. I saw “Mary Poppins” at the Century. First-run in l964. I remember there being a balcony, then and the line-up to get in went around the block. “It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World” was a long, long time ago…
It was a great theater to see a movie: big auditorium, big screen. “The Sound of Music” played for over a year (didn’t see it then). Later I saw “Yentl”, “The Exorcist”, “Rocky”, “The Rocky Horror Picture Show”(pre-cult) and “Gone With the Wind” (for the first time, one of ’M-G-M’s Fabulous Four'). It was pathetic to see them tear this place down. I took a lot of pictures and video every day. And I got a lot of bricks and concrete pieces.

bigal on June 2, 2012 at 7:39 am

I have organized a “get-together” of former employees of the Century Theatre to be held Friday,June8th..if you are interested in attending please contact me at …..come share your memories.

BrockKing13 on July 15, 2013 at 1:27 pm

The Century was one of my favorite old theatres. Originally opened in the 1880’s as the Lyric Opera House, it entertained many of the most famous stars of the day. I worked there as an usher in 1974 and again as manager a few years later. I think I explored every nook and cranie of the old girl back in those days. Most of her history was hidden backstage and above the false ceiling in the front of the building. Over that false front ceiling was hidden the balcony and original projection room with the silent film projectors still in place.

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