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Location DB > Canada > Ontario > Hamilton > Lyric Theatre
Lyric Theatre
 Viewing Options
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 Database Info
created by Stalker on 9/26/2003 2:11 PM
last modified by Stewie on 1/28/2010 1:45 AM
Publically Viewable Publically Viewable
This location has been labeled as Demolished, and therefore can be viewed by anyone.
Very large building. Very empty inside. Very beautiful.
 Basic Information
Type: Building
Status: Demolished
Accessibility: Moderate
Recommendation: worth the trip
 Physical Information
12 Mary St.
Hamilton, Ontario
Owner: Zoran Cocov
  • See a map of this location
  •  Hazards
  • asbestos
  • rust
  • unsafe flooring
  • flooding
  • water
  • air quality
  • unsafe roof, floors on 2nd floor near the front
  •  Interesting Features
    Its an abandoned theatre. Enough said.
     Security Measures
  • fences
  • locked gates
  • welded doors
  • wooden boarding
  • cameras
  • Central Police Station across King William
  •  Historical Dates
    Built: 1913
    Closed: 1989
     Required Equipment
  • flashlight
  • binoculars
  • gloves
  • long pants / sleeves
  •  Recommended Equipment

    The former Century Theatre is located directly behind the landmark 1881 Copp Block which spans the entire block from Mary to Walnut Street. The theatre building originally stood in the midst of a thriving retail and entertainment district in thedowntown core, just steps away from the busy King Street East commercial thoroughfare. Tucked away on a narrow street, its impressive four-storey facade with a crowning cornice arching over the semi-circular sign bearing its original Lyric Theatre name was only ever visible to visitors approaching the theatre from King Street at the intersection of Mary Street because of the continuous row of three-storey commercial buildings lining King. Today the building is much more visible from the north than itwould have been in the early century as many commercial/ industrial buildings andhouses along Mary Street and King William Street have since been demolished and thevacant land turned into parking lots. Even though the theatre building is vacant and indisrepair, its imposing five-storey brick and cast stone facade still maintains a commanding presence. The new owners of the former Century Theatre intend toconvert it into residential units on the upper floors with commercial space on the groundfloor, conserving and restoring as many of the original features on the Mary Street facade as possible.Opened as a vaudeville theatre in 1913, the Lyric Theatre was hailed at the time to be the largest theatre in Hamilton with a seating capacity of over 2000.It was built for Dominion Theatres Limited to offer Loews Vaudeville and moving pictures to the citizens of Hamilton. At a time when this form of entertainment was extremely popular, the Lyric Theatre was one of the seven largest and grandest theatres of its type to be built in Hamilton, three of which were located in the immediate vicinity: the Temple, the Capitol and the Palace. In 1914, the Lyric was sold to the Canadian United Theatre Company of London, Ontario, and became the Keith Vaudeville Circuit spermanent home in Hamilton. The theatre underwent extensive renovations in 1922,making it one of the most palatial amusement centres in the Dominion. Purchased in 1940 by Century Theatres it was fully modernized to serve as a state-of-the-art movie house. In 1967, the Century underwent yet another complete refurbishing andcontinued to operate until closing in 1989 when the new multi-theatre complex opened in Jackson Square. Today, the Century and the Tivoli on James Street North are the only two of Hamiltons grand early century theatres to survive with their auditoriums. It might also be noted that both the Century and Tivoli are victims of the opening of the theatres at Jackson Square (its opening resulted in their closings). The theatre at Jackson Square has since been sold by Famous Players to Empire Cinemas.

    The Lyric Theatre was originally built with a four storey wrap-around brick masonry facade designed in a Renaissance Revival style. It featured six pilasters with cast stone capitals supporting a cast stone moulding that was originally surmounted by an elaborate crowning cornice (almost certainly fabricated of galvanized iron) with a central round arched section framing a semi-circular metal sign panel. The symmetrical front facade was divided by four brick pilasters into three window bays. The wood-framed sash windows originally provided natural light for the offices located on the three floors at the front of the building. In 1922, the building was extensively remodeled with an elaborate new entrance,modern balcony and beautiful mezzanine floor. In 1940, the building underwent more major changes, which most likely included the fifth floor addition at the front. The architects Kaplan and Sprachman of Toronto reputedly designed many outstanding picture houses across Canada. Claimed to be the first theatre in Canada to have the modern convenience of year-round air conditioning, it was decorated with sensational new fluorescent carpet never before seen in Canadian theatres. Fluorescent paint was applied to the ceiling and wall panels in modernistic designs and illuminated with black lighting. The entrance was again altered to include a new marquee, stainless steel boxoffice, vitrolite cladding and neon lighting. Many of these elements were lost when the theatre was again renovated in 1967. The only decorative feature of the 1940 interior to survive was a series of identical abstract Art Deco panels painted on the side walls ofthe auditorium, which are now faded but still visible (see galleries). Today, the upper facade retains its original brick masonry facing and cast-stone trim and its original window openings with some of the wood sash windows (now hidden behind metal cladding) and cast-stone lintels. Although the decorative cornice has been removed, the painted metal Lyric Theatre sign has survived, now badly faded but with the lettering still just discernible. The only surviving original feature of thestreet level facades is the cast stone lower cornice which wraps around the sides of the building where it is still visible and partially intact. The front section may be intact (or partially) behind the aluminum fascia panel. Even in its neglected condition, the former Lyric/Century Theatre continues to stand as a significant example of Hamilton's early century theatre architecture. Designated features important to the preservation of the former Lyric/Century Theatre is the West (front) facade and the sections of the North and South walls which echo the architectural treatment of the front facade. Included are the six brick pilasters, the caststone capitals, sills, upper string concourse, surviving sections of the lower cornice, the semi-circular metal sign panel, the original window openings and any surviving woodsash windows. Also included are the 1940 painted panels in the auditorium.
     Media Coverage
    Some Hamilton Spectator coverage
     Future Plans
    "12 Mary Street
    Formerly the home of the Century Theatre, this building will be converted into 60 one-storey and two-storey residential lofts. The development process is presently underway."

    -City of Hamilton website

    January 2010: Demolition by neglect.

    Add your own story
     Photo Galleries
    Click to view gallery
    Flash's scouting trip
    Tue, Mar 2nd, 2004
    posted by Flash
    3 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Stalker & Taco inside trip
    Mon, Mar 28th, 2005
    posted by Stalker
    31 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Behind the Scenes Pt.2
    Sat, Apr 2nd, 2005
    posted by ScourgeVW
    5 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Roadwolfs Fun Lightpainting Photos
    Sun, Apr 24th, 2005
    posted by Roadwolf
    17 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Natural Lighting
    Tue, Mar 14th, 2006
    posted by Boffo
    6 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Steeltown Extravaganza! - Lost's Pics
    Sat, Apr 29th, 2006
    posted by LostintheWoods
    19 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    GORDON! I want you to wake up
    Mon, May 1st, 2006
    posted by Axle
    10 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Steeltown Extravaganza!
    Mon, May 1st, 2006
    posted by abandoned-echoes
    27 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    I seen 2
    Thu, May 18th, 2006
    posted by draco925
    6 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    May 1-2 Group Visit
    Thu, Jul 6th, 2006
    posted by Yehoshua
    11 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Ice Meet
    Wed, Jan 17th, 2007
    posted by levacas
    10 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Lyric / Century Tour
    Sat, Mar 10th, 2007
    posted by CopySix
    23 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Years Later
    Sun, Apr 27th, 2008
    posted by Stewie
    6 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    man im hate this shit
    Mon, Apr 28th, 2008
    posted by Bryan
    10 pictures
    Click to view gallery
    Lyrical Entropy
    Sat, Jul 11th, 2009
    posted by Banditt
    22 pictures

    Add your own photos

    Mark all galleries as Seen
     Web Links

    Edit this Location
     Moderator Rating
    The moderator rating is a neutral rating of the content quality, photography, and coolness of this location.

    This location has not yet been rated by a moderator.
    This location's validation is current. It was last validated by Steed on 1/28/2010 2:43 AM.

     Latest Changes
  • on Jan 28 10 at 2:43, Steed validated this location
  • on Jan 28 10 at 1:45, Stewie changed the following: Status, Future Plans
  • on Jan 18 10 at 0:44, Steed validated this location
  • on Jan 17 10 at 21:26, Stewie changed the following: Status, Future Plans
  • on Aug 7 09 at 4:19, Steed validated this location
  • on Aug 7 09 at 4:08, Banditt added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Aug 7 09 at 4:07, Banditt added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Aug 7 09 at 4:00, Banditt added some pictures to a gallery
  • on Aug 7 09 at 3:54, Banditt updated gallery Lyrical Entropy
  • on Aug 7 09 at 3:52, Banditt created a new gallery
  •  Forum Threads about this Location
    New Thread
     SubjectStarted ByRepliesViewsLast Post
    You must log in for this feature to work.Lyric Theatre Coming Downtlrclub311151/17/2010 9:25 PM by Stewie
    You must log in for this feature to work.March, 2007 VisitCopySix09143/14/2007 12:25 AM by CopySix
    You must log in for this feature to work.Main PictureJef411635/2/2006 8:47 PM by Jef
    You must log in for this feature to work.If someone happens to get in..mike161016547/5/2005 5:01 AM by Stewie
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