Thursday, February 20, 2014

Hometown Memories: Empire Theatre

When I was in Montreal in the fall visiting my family, I went on many walks around the neighbourhood to take photos and reminisce about my childhood. Some streets triggered very heartwarming memories, like this one:

walked ran down this street many Saturday mornings when I was a kid.

At the corner of the above street named Ogilvy, on the left side, stands a building that used to look like this:

(This image is not mine. I ‘borrowed’ it from Google maps.)
The building did not look like this when I was young; it was in much better shape.

This was once the Empire Theatre. It was built around 1937; the year that Walt Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. It was a period when smaller theatres began being located beyond the downtown area, and in neighbourhoods like the one I grew up in.

The opposite view of Ogilvy Avenue.

Many decades ago, the Empire offered three short movies for 50 cents on Saturday mornings, and many moms and dads would drop off their kids there at 10 AM, and come back to get them at noon. And although we didn’t enjoy this every week, my brothers and I had our fair share of Saturday mornings at the Empire. It was a hugely anticipated and beloved treat!

The theatre was at the corner of Ogilvy Ave., and this street: Durocher.

The building ceased operations as a cinema in 1978, and became the property of The Hellenic Community of Greater Montreal. Over time, the Greeks in the neighbourhood left the area, the building was abandoned, and it inevitably fell into disrepair. In 2011 (or thereabouts), the building was purchased by a developer and was converted into a 21-unit residential condominium building.

It now looks like this:

Condominiums are popping up all over the city.

Things sure have changed since I was a child, and I will admit that this is a very attractive building. But no matter what it looks like today, or what purpose it serves, this corner will always be the location of the Empire Theatre where my brothers and I spent many fun-filled Saturday mornings.

Happy Thursday, to all!

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26 comments:

  1. Great memories of your childhood Martha. There was a similar theatre in our neighbourhood too where my brothers and I would spend Saturday afternoons.....it was called the Empire Theatre. I don't know how we heard anything at all because the place was full of rowdy kids!! Guess that wasn't the point back then,

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    1. Our place was full of rowdy kids, too. I think just getting together with all our friends was why we went in the first place!

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  2. This brings me back to warm memories of the Paradise Theatre in downtown Westchester (LA), where I grew up. It was the best. Now it's an IHOP.

    Be well, Martha.
    xoRobyn

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    1. Many of the old buildings we knew as kids are being transformed. Some in good ways, some not! I guess it all depends on your perspective.

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  3. It is nice to reminisce, wonderful memories and photos!

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    1. It really is nice to reminisce about these good times!

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  4. We are very much alike in that aspect. My hometown brings me many happy thoughts. It is a small, quaint town. It's an old port town - just a tad bit bigger than a hamlet (village) with a marina. It borders on Greenwhich, CT, a place where I spent many, many happy times. Even our library is a historical site. I love it. In fact some of the buildings in your pics remind me of the housing project I grew up in. Not taller than 3 stories. Great post. Cheers!!

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    1. I grew up in a working class neighbourhood, and it is full of character. Far from the cookie cutter type of area I'm in now! And a lot of the buildings in my childhood neighbourhood are very old. Many of them are being given a total transformation. It's fascinating to watch the changes.

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  5. Wonderful memories are to be cherished.
    I am glad you yours.
    Thanks for sharing, Martha.

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    1. They certainly are to be cherished! Thanks for stopping by, Margie.

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  6. What a fun place and fun to share your memories. I grew up near where I live now, so I see my old area quite often...but the changes boggle my mind. Fun Post...

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    1. It's fun to witness how things change over time; some for the better, some not so much :)

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  7. Nice photos ! I Have never been to Montreal ! Thanks for popping by ! Have a good day !

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    1. Like any other city, it has its interesting points, and historical buildings and sites! Thanks for popping by :)

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  8. We have an old movie theater that still around but for movies that are almost out on dvd. It used to be the one to go, but new ones took its place.

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    1. I wonder how long it will last with that type of competition!

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  9. Thanks for letting me tag along....
    Great shots....
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  10. So nice to see the place with of many great memorise for you.

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    1. It is quite a treat being able to walk down the treats I walked down as a child!

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  11. It's rather shocking to notice changes in the neighborhood because we've aged.

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    1. Absolutely! And many things have changed quite a bit.

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  12. Sure am enjoying this tour, Martha ... I'm glad to see old buildings restored and turned into apartments/condos... Little Rock is doing that ... love it.

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    1. I'm also glad to see buildings restored. Some of them have been around for a long time. It would be a shame to demolish them!

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  13. Your post reminds me of so many happy Saturday afternoons at the movies with my brother! Thanks for sharing your warm memories!

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    1. You had afternoons and I had mornings! No matter what time it was, we both have the same great memories :)

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