Centennial Square / Government Street – 1600 Block
The McPherson Playhouse, on Government Street between Pandora Avenue and Fisgard Street, was built in 1914 by architect Jesse M. Warren for the Victoria real estate investment firm of McPherson, Fullerton & Elliot.
Here is a map showing the location of the McPherson Playhouse:
Here is a Google Street View image of the McPherson Playhouse, seen from Government Street:
Additional Information on the McPherson Playhouse
- Canadian Register of Historic Places – formally recognized in 1995, listed in 2005.
- Times Colonist – McPherson Playhouse historical article by Dave Obee, 9 May 2014
A Brief History of the McPherson Playhouse, 3 Centennial Square
The McPherson Playhouse was built in 1914 by architect Jesse M. Warren for the Victoria real estate investment firm of McPherson, Fullerton & Elliot. The principal partner in this firm was Thomas Shanks McPherson, who became the owner of the building.
The building was first leased to the Pantages Theatre, which moved here from 566 Johnson Street in 1914. The Pantages Theater chain ran it as a vaudeville venue which also showed movies.
As the vaudeville circuit declined in the 1920’s, the Pantages Theatre began to emphasize movies but was also used for live performances and concerts. Over the years it operated under a variety of names, including the York Theatre, the Empire Theatre and the York Theatre.
When owner Thomas Shanks McPherson died in 1962, his will bequeathed this theatre to the City of Victoria along with funds for its restoration. The City of Victoria upgraded the theatre, including the addition on the south side that is now the theatre entrance. The renovated McPherson Playhouse was incorporated into the Centennial Square redevelopment. It is now operated by the Royal & McPherson Theatre Society, which also operates the Royal Theatre at 805 Broughton Street.
Here are some photos of the original interior detailing of the McPherson Playhouse.
Here are some movie advertisements and playbills from the theaters which operated here over the decades:
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