Century Theatre

12 Mary Street,
Hamilton, ON L81 1A5

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: 20th Century Theaters, Famous Players, Keith-Albee

Architects: Harold Solomon Kaplan, Abraham Sprachman

Firms: Kaplan & Sprachman, Lambert & Son

Styles: Art Deco, Renaissance Revival

Previous Names: Lyric Opera House, Lyric Theatre

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News About This Theater

Century Theatre

The Lyric Opera House was opened in the 1880’s. It became the Lyric Theatre on August 13, 1913 with 1,800-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 on August 22, 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 on May 19, 1967. It switched operators from 20th Century Theatres to Famous Players in 1979.

The theatre closed on September 28, 1989 with Mel Gibson in “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 105 comments)

schmadrian on February 4, 2010 at 3:57 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 5:43 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 1:17 pm

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 10:39 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 4:27 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.

rivest266 on December 5, 2023 at 12:15 pm

opened as Lyric on August 13th, 1913. Grand opening ad posted.

rivest266 on December 6, 2023 at 3:45 pm

Reseated and reopened on May 19th, 1967. Ad posted.

rivest266 on December 7, 2023 at 2:12 pm

Closed September 28th, 1989, and replaced with four more screens at the Jackson Square.

Century Theatre closingCentury Theatre closing 27 Sep 1989, Wed The Hamilton Spectator (Hamilton, Ontario, Canada) Newspapers.com

Brian Morton
Brian Morton on May 12, 2024 at 7:25 pm

A photo that I had never seen before. From November 1921.


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