Photograph by: Les Bazso, PNG
Upcoming public meeting on Hollywood Theatre may be last chance for community to speak out against building’s destruction
Vancouver’s Hollywood Theatre, one of North America’s longest family-owned and run movie theatres, is on the verge of being gutted and turned into a chain gym as early as this coming January.
“Vancouver City Council has given us 75 days to come up with a proposal to try to save the Hollywood Theatre,” stated Mel Lehan, spokesperson for the Save the Hollywood Theatre Coalition.
“We are in the process of creating a plan and would like to hear ideas and thoughts from anyone in our community and in our city who share our concern about the importance of retaining this historic heritage theatre. We only have a very short window before the building will be gutted and its heritage value lost.”
The Coalition wants not only to save the heritage building but also to retain its use as a valuable multipurpose cultural and community space. Since its construction in 1935–36, the Hollywood has been a treasured icon in the community of Kitsilano and for the City of Vancouver. Designed by architect Harold Culleme in striking art deco style, the theatre was owned and operated by the Fairleigh family for three generations and has served to date as a hub of cultural, social and community activity. With its historic and highly recognizable neon sign, the theatre is still in fine condition today both inside and out.
Vancouver has lost many of its historic theatres, from the Ridge to the Fraser to the Pantages. The community now hopes to save one of these last remaining valuable and irreplaceable spaces.
To that end, a public meeting where concerned citizens can speak up will be held on Sunday, November 17 at 2–4 P.M. at St. James Hall, 3214 West 10th Avenue, Vancouver.
Lehan emphasized how vital a robust turnout is to the future of the Hollywood. “We have some excellent ideas in play, but ultimately it’s public pressure and support that can make the critical difference and show the decision makers just how important it is to people to preserve these kind of spaces for the future.”