Epic Theatre

646 Main Street,
Winnipeg, MB R3B

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Additional Info

Architects: Alexander D. Melville

Styles: Beaux-Arts

Previous Names: Regent Theatre, Rex Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Epic Theatre

Built in 1913 for Winnipeg Tribune publisher and Member of Parliament, Robert L. Richardson, by Scottish born architect Alexander D. Melville, and intended exclusively for the purpose of showing films, this Grade II Listed building is one of the oldest surviving intact examples of of cinema architecture remaining in all of Canada. The building is long and narrow with a balcony and reminds me of the very similar Princess Theatre in Edmonton.

Originally this stretch of Main Street in Winnipeg contained 7 theatres in a two block area; they included the Elite (1903), the Bijou (1905), The Star (1907) the Royal/Starland (1909), the Fox (1940’s) and the Colonial. Of these only the Starland and the Epic remain standing today.

Owned by the City of Winnipeg for over twenty years, these two heritage buildings remained vacant and boarded up. In March 2008 these two were under imminent threat of demolition for a proposed medical complex. Demolition came to the Epic Theatre in May 2008.

Contributed by Brian Morton

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Brian Morton
Brian Morton on April 23, 2008 at 10:55 pm

Looks like these buildings are coming down next week… Hopefully someone can photograph them before they come down…

There is a good blog article here…

View link

PGlenat on April 24, 2008 at 7:29 am

Someone did manage to gain access to the theater yesterday to take some photos. Looking at the photos I was surprised to see how much of the original ornamental detail from 1913 has survived. Unfortunately the interior has suffered the curse of many closed up buildings. Broken windows have allowed pigeons to roost inside with the inevitable excrement left over everything, a lot of it on the original red leather theater seats. Except for one corner of the balcony apparently there is very little water damage to the interior.

Brian Morton
Brian Morton on April 24, 2008 at 11:25 am

It is heartbreaking to see that so much has survived only to end up in a landfill next week… Looks like the paint is original from 1913…

More interior pictures and some comment here.

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Brian Morton
Brian Morton on April 29, 2008 at 6:11 pm

Demolition began today… very sad the whole business.

kencmcintyre on April 29, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Here is another photo. Ave atque vale.

Brian Morton
Brian Morton on May 14, 2008 at 11:50 pm

Well the building is still standing. Demolition is supposedly still coming. City of Winnipeg is suing the demolition company for botching the Starland’s facade.. See story here…
View link

Found out that the Rex theatre was under the control of the Allan Theatre Chain until 1923 when they went under and were bought out by Famous Players

PGlenat on May 22, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Sadly, the status of the Epic aka Regent aka Rex theatre must now be changed to Closed/Demolished as of today. It has been pounded into a pile of rubble.
The 1913 facade still existed beneath a more recent one, along with other architectural detail that came to light. Promises from the demolition firm to peel away the false front so that photos of the historic facade could be taken before total destruction of the theatre was carried out were apparently forgotten. Demolition was carried out in the wee hours of the morning before the originally scheduled time. It was hoped that some original artifacts like the coat of arms above the proscenium could be salvaged before the building came down. However the demolition proceeded with such haste that it seems unlikely that anything was saved.

Brian Morton
Brian Morton on May 22, 2008 at 9:04 pm

None of this was unexpected, since no one knew that the theatre was still intact until after the decision got made to demolish them.. The Starland was just a shell but the Rex/Epic was still a theatre even if it hadn’t been used as such for such a long time.

This is why it so important that we all share information about what still exists, so that hopefully the history can still be saved before it gets to this point..

I myself believe that there is a special part of hell reserved for people who demolish old theatres… You can’t build another one, and once they are gone they are lost forever..

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