Historic York Theatre Restoration Approved by Council

May 18, 2011 | Arts and Culture

Vancouver City Council has approved restoring the historic York Theatre and having the Vancouver East Cultural Centre operate it as a new performing arts centre.

“Arts and culture play a huge role in our city, not just in bringing Vancouver to life but generating millions for our local economy,” said Mayor Robertson. “To restore the York theatre and have the VECC operate it is a win-win and will be a great addition to the northern part of Commercial Drive.”

Originally known as the Alcazar Theatre, the restored York Theatre will include a fully fitted 365-seat theatre, orchestra pit, and a heritage lobby and ticket booth.  All of the 1913 floor space of the original building will be maintained, and the project will be built to LEED Gold standards. Once completed, the Vancouver East Cultural Centre will operate the building and use it as a satellite facility.

Image:  Artist’s rendition of proposed York Theatre Renovation

Mayor Robertson also acknowledged the support of Peter Wall, whose company Wall Financial purchased the site in 2008 with the intention of restoring and preserving the historic theatre. “I want to thank Peter Wall for his leadership in contributing to Vancouver’s arts and culture sector,” said the Mayor. “It’s great to see the private sector value the importance of the arts in Vancouver, and this project is a great example of that.”

The theatre also has a strong history of local support, culminating in the formation of the “Save The York Society” in the late 1970′s. The venue has been host to a wide variety of film and music performances, from Bollywood film festivals to Punk Rock concerts.

Image: The York in its original form – The Alcazar Theatre.

It is also valued for being one of the earliest surviving theatres in the city and for its association with the Vancouver Little Theatre Association which occupied the theatre for over five decades. The theatre is also linked with the careers of many well known Vancouver directors, actors and theatre educators.

To read the report on the York Theatre, visit: http://vancouver.ca/ctyclerk/cclerk/20110419/documents/p1.pdf