Downtown Victoria Tour
Broughton Street – Blanshard Street
Royal Theatre – 805 Broughton Street
The Royal Theatre at 805 Broughton Street was built in 1913 by architects William D’Orly Rochfort and Eben W. Sankey for the Victoria Opera House Company, which had been formed in 1912 specifically for the purpose of building this theatre.
The Royal Theatre is listed on the Canadian Register of Historic Places and has been designated a National Historic Site of Canada. It is still operated as a live theatre venue by the Royal & McPherson Theatres Society.
Here is a map showing the location of the Royal Theatre, 805 Broughton Street:
Here is a Google Street View image of the Royal Theatre:
Additional Information About the Royal Theatre
- Assessed Value (July 2017): $9,160,000; Land $4,621,000 Buildings $4,539,000
- Assessed Value (July 2016): $9,160,000; Land $4,477,000 Buildings $4,683,000
- Assessed Value (July 2015): $8,779,000; Land $4,156,000 Buildings $4,623,000
- Assessed Value (July 2014): $8,779,000; Land $4,169,000 Buildings $4,610,000
- Canadian Register of Historic Places – formally recognized in 1987, listed in 2007
- National Historic Site of Canada – formally recognized in 1987, listed in 2007
- Royal & McPherson Theatres Society
A Brief History of the Royal Theatre
The Royal Victoria Theatre was built in 1913 by architects William D’Orly Rochfort (1884-1943) and Eben W. Sankey (1882-1948) for the Victoria Opera House Company, which was formed in 1912 for the specific purpose of building this theatre.
Notable shareholders of the Victoria Opera House Company included chairman Simon Leiser, whose Leiser Building is still standing at 524 Yates Street and whose house is still standing at 1005 St. Charles Street; Arthur Lineham, who was a partner in building the Fairfield Block at 1601-1609 Douglas Street and whose home at 1 Cook street is now the Dashwood Manor B&B; architect Francis Rattenbury; David Russell Ker, who built 512 Fort Street and whose Brackman Ker Milling Company built 1307 Government Street and 1420 Broad Street; Albert E. Todd, who built the October Mansion at 1030 Cook Street; and Col. Edward G. Prior, who built 1401 Government Street for his hardware business and whose house at 620 St. Charles Street is still standing.
The Royal Victoria Theatre’s opening night on 29 December 1913 featured the play Kismet, starring the American actor Otis Skinner, who had starred in the 1911 Broadway production of Kismet and who went on to perform in movie versions of the play in 1920 and 1930.
The Royal Victoria Theatre was designed as a venue for live theatrical and musical performances and operated as a live venue until 1946, when it was purchased by Famous Players Ltd., which changed the name to the Royal Theatre, added a movie screen and ran it primarily as a movie theatre.
In 1972 the Royal Theatre was converted back to a live venue and is still operated as a live venue by the Royal & McPherson Theatres Society.
The Royal Theatre was formally recognized by the Canadian Register of Historic Places in 1987 and was listed in 2007. It has also been designated a National Historic Site of Canada.
Here are links to some historic photos of the Royal Theatre:
- City of Victoria Archives photo M05853 – April 1913, excavation for Royal Theatre construction
- City of Victoria Archives photo M06553 – 1913, likely November-December 1913 following completion of construction.
- City of Victoria Archives photo M07742 – 1913
- BC Archives photo A-05915– Blanshard Street at Broughton Street, `1935
- City of Victoria Archives photo M06554 – circa 1940
- BC Archives photo I-02527 – Interior renovations, 1946; photographer: Duncan Macphail
- BC Archives photo I-02299 – original stained glass entrance canopy, prior to its removal in 1946; photographer: Duncan Macphail
- BC Archives photo I-20603 – 1946, following conversion to a movie theatre. Movie was Easy To Wed, starring Van Johnson and Esther Williams; photographer: Frank Peters Boucher
- City of Victoria Archives photo M09943 – circa 1978
- City of Victoria Archives photo M0 –
Here are some Historic Victoria Advertisements from the Royal Theatre:
1926. live production of No No Nanette, starring Taylor Holmes
We will add more Historic Victoria Advertisements for the Royal Theatre in future.
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