Structure Type: built works - performing arts structures - theatres

Designers: Priteca, B. Marcus, Architect (firm); Edward Evans Blackmore (architect); Barnet Marcus Priteca (architect)

Dates: constructed 1907-1908, demolished 2011

152 East Hastings Street
Central, Vancouver, BC Canada V6A 4J1

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The Pantages Theatre #1 occupied the street addresses from 144-156 East Hastings Street.


This was the second theatre erected by vaudeville impresario Alexander Pantages, what would become a chain of 72 venues across Western Canada and the US. (See CBC, "Future of Vancouver's Pantages Theatre in doubt," published 10/24/2008, accessed 03/08/2018.)

Building History

Vaudeville impresario Alexander Pantages (1867-1936) and Cornwall, UK-born real estate investor Arthur Clemes (1852-1922) opened their first theatre in Vancouver, BC on 01/06/1908 at a cost of $100,000. Construction work, undertaken by B.F. Dempsey and Company of Vancouver, occurred between 04-12/1907.

A 1912 article by the Seattle Times theatre critic, J. Willis Sayre, on the expansion of Pantages' theatres in Canada, noted this about Vancouver Pantages Theatre #1: "In the construction of new playhouses at Edmonton, Moosejaw, Saskatoon, and Vancouver, Mr. Pantages before January 1 next will expend the enormous sum of $1,200,000. While the Pantage Circuit now has a house in Vancouver, it is decidedly inadequate to its steadily increasing business and must therefore be replaced as soon as possible." (See J. Willis Sayre, "Pantages To Build Four New Theatres," Seattle Daily Times, 06/20/1912, p. 8.)

Building Notes

As of 03/08/2018, there is a discrepancy in the birthdate of Alexander Pantages, born Pericles Pantages in Andros, Greece. listed it as 1876, while the Canadian Encyclopedia listed it as 02/17/1867.


Hopes for the renovation of the Pantages Theatre #1 stirred in 2008, as the theatre was to have been part of a new apartment, small performance space and art gallery complex. Plans for this restoration fell through in late 2008, when the Vancouver City Council gave up on options to revive the building. A preservation group, the Pantages Theatre Arts Society, fought to save the historic theatre, and secure about $30 million CN to renovate it as a new home for the City Opera of Vancouver, the Vancouver Cantonese Opera and Vancouver Moving Theatre. (See CBC, "Future of Vancouver's Pantages Theatre in doubt," published 10/24/2008, accessed 03/08/2018.)


The first Pantages Theatre was demolished in 12/2011. Columnist Knute Berger, a strong proponent of historic preservation, noted in his "Heritage Turkeys of the year" column on 01/09/2012: "It's been crumbling for a long time, and that's part of the problem: A slow, demolition-by-neglect for Vancouver, BC's historic Pantages Theater at Hastings and Main. The chain was founded by Seattle's vaudeville mogul Alexander Pantages. Advocates have been warning about the slow decay of the oldest survivor of the Pantages chain; it's been on Vancouver's "most endangered" lists six of the last 10 years. The 1908 theater was the oldest surviving theater in Vancouver, and the second Pantages ever built. The Heritage Vancouver Society, calling it the 'historic heart and soul of the community,' worked for years with various owners and the city to come up with a plan to save it, and urged the city to buy and revitalize the property. The city didn't, and the Pantages was condemned and demolished in the fall. Heritage Canada called the demolition 'needless' and put it on Canada's Worst Losses list for 2011." (See Knute Berger, "Heritage Turkeys of the Year: It's Curtains for the Pantages," 01/09/2012,Accessed 01/26/2012.)

PCAD id: 15139