Snowdon Theatre (Montreal)

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Snowdon Theatre marquee.

The Snowdon Theatre was a Streamline Moderne style cinema in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, located on Decarie Boulevard in the neighbourhood of Snowdon. After the theater closed, it was re-purposed as mini-shopping center with gymnastics studio, and then later demolished to build condominiums. Only its exterior facade survives.


The theater opened in February 1937 with a lavish art deco interior by designer Emmanuel Briffa, designer of the interior of the Rialto Theatre and 60 other cinemas in Canada.[1]

In 1950 the entrance facade was modified and a new marquee was added. In 1968 it showed X-rated movies. In 1972 it screened Charlie Chaplin films for approximately an entire year.[2] The cinema closed in May 1982 and was vacant.[3] In 1983, in an act of historical revisionism, the marquee sign was changed to French ("Théâtre Snowdon") in a different font, despite it being defunct as a theater with no intention to reopen.[4] In 1990 it was re-purposed as a small shopping center.[5] The 25,000 square foot interior was rebuilt by Rafid Louis and Emile Fattal, splitting the theater into two floors and sub-dividing the remaining space. The theater's original wall and ceiling art deco remained intact on the second floor, where a gymnastics center operated for a number of years. In 2013 the building was vacant again, then boarded up and left abandoned.


The building was not a success with its retail shopping and offices and by the late 1990s was mostly vacant.[6] Flexart Gymnastics, the last tenant, was evicted in late 2013 due to safety concerns with the building's roof.[7] The city of Montreal owned the building and had no plans to repair the roof or any do renovations, which put its future into question.

In January 2016, the city put the building up for sale. On March 26, 2016 a fire on the second floor caused heavy damage to the roof.[8] On May 4, 2017, it was reported the city found a buyer for the building who planned to demolish it for either a commercial or residential building project (likely condominiums).[9] The sale went through on February 3, 2018 for $1.6 million, with the only condition that the building's exterior front facade and sign be preserved.[10]

In April 2019, the building was completely demolished, with only the front façade wall left standing and its marquee sign.


  1. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2018-12-18. Retrieved 2018-12-18. Cite uses deprecated parameter |dead-url= (help)CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  2. ^ "Montreal Movie Theatre History". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  3. ^ "Snowdon Theatre in Montreal, CA - Cinema Treasures". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  4. ^
  5. ^ "City seeks to sell Snowdon Theatre". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  6. ^ Noakes, Taylor C. (27 March 2016). "Three-Alarm Fire Nearly Destroys Historic Snowdon Theatre". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  7. ^ "Accueil". Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  8. ^ "Snowdon Theatre heavily damaged by afternoon fire". CBC News. 26 March 2016. Retrieved 27 March 2016.
  9. ^ "EXCLUSIVE: City of Montreal finds a buyer for Snowdon Theatre - Montreal -". 4 May 2017. Retrieved 18 December 2018.
  10. ^ Claire Loewen. "Montreal sells Snowdon Theatre to private company for $1.6M". Retrieved 18 December 2018.

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Coordinates: 45°29′06″N 73°37′52″W / 45.48499°N 73.63112°W / 45.48499; -73.63112