Monday, May 7, 2007
Park Theatre on Church St.
One of my colleagues at the Dawson Cultural Centre gave me an article wich appeared in the Oct. 26th 1997 edition of the Gazette on the fire at the Park theatre wich ocurred 2 weeks previously. The only victims were 7 firemen due to a collapsing wall and roof.
The theatre was converted to a TV theatre, a church, an ice-cream parlour and a music venue.
By coincidence, I was in the process of doing research on the 4 theatres that existed prior to their conversion.
The theatre opened in 1915 and once was praised as one of Canada's most beautifull theatres, was founded by S.J. Dunning. The theatre had a large balcony, a beautiful decorated lobby, a four-manual pipe organ and 1,172 seats. I saw many movies in this theatre in the 40s and 50s. It is interesting to know that a pioneer by the name of LÃ©o.Ernest Ouimet was the first to build a theatre in Canada and perhaps in North America in 1907, named Ouimetoscope. We have a book on the subject written by one of his descendants, at the SHGV. (in french)
The theatre also had a stage wich presented from Vaudeville acts to choirs, ballet and orchestras. Dunning preferred distributing circulars and at one time had 20,000 printed.
The article is too long to quote every interesting facts as it takes 3 pages of the Gazette written by Mark Abley and will be kept in the SHGV archives.