British Columbia

Vancouver's Orpheum Theatre turns 90

Through much of Vancouver's colourful past, the Orpheum Theatre has been a constant.

'It's such a beloved spot,' says Vancouver Civic Theatres' Krista Edwardson

Originally a vaudeville house, the Orpheum Theatre was also a movie theatre before becoming the home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. (Shana Hugh/CBC)

Since first opening in 1927, the Orpheum Theatre has become a Vancouver landmark.

The permanent home of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra (VSO), the theatre on Granville Street has seen a multitude of musical performances over the years, most of them classical.

In recent years, performers who have taken the stage include comedians Adam Sandler and Nick Offerman and musicians Fred Penner and Beck.

Initially intended for vaudeville performances, it was the biggest theatre in Canada when it was first constructed. After vaudeville's decline, the Orpheum was a movie theatre for almost 50 years.

In 1973, a "Save the Orpheum" fundraising campaign saved the space from being gutted and turned into a multiplex. Through the City of Vancouver, it was acquired by the VSO in 1977.

Krista Edwardson, with Vancouver Civic Theatres, says there's nowhere in the city quite like it.

"It's such a beloved spot and it [has] kept its heritage throughout the years as we see the city grow up around us," said Edwardson.

"You just step foot into the auditorium or even the lobby spaces ... you really have that feeling of nostalgia, history and entertainment of yesteryear and today."

On Friday, there was a 1920s themed celebration of the space, complete with a silent movie and vaudeville theme.

Today's Orpheum Theatre was originally called The New Orpheum. There was an "old" Orpheum first, pictured above in 1910. (City of Vancouver Archives)

With files from Deborah Goble