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Wednesday, January 07, 2009

saying goodbye to the garneau theatre we know?

We received our demolition notice ... on Christmas Eve. The owner of the building will be demolishing the front half of the Garneau Theatre after July 1, 2009.


I was a little shocked to read an email forwarded to me by a reader this afternoon. As a resident of the Garneau neighbourhood, I am disappointed to learn that the owner of the building has decided to change the face of this historic Edmonton landmark. In July 2007, Edmonton lawyer John Day purchased the building, and at the time was quoted saying "I will consult with the community" before planning any major renovations to the historic block. According to a 2008 article, the lease for the movie theatre was set to expire in 2009.

In November 2007, the popular Garneau restaurants the Sugar Bowl and High Level Dinner, avoided demolition when owner Patrick Turner sold the building to its current tenants. Turner had been offered truckloads of cash a developer who wanted to demolish the historic block and build condominium building, but decided to save the historic building instead.

Perhaps there are structural reasons for the demolition, or perhaps it will just be a well-intentioned face lift for the historic building, but it will be a loss for Edmonton if the demolition results in irreparable damage to a unique building that has helped shape the quirky character of the Garneau area for decades.

10 comments:

Laurence Miall said...

Sadly this is all too common in Edmonton. There is a perverse psychology afoot that believes that "history happens elsewhere" and thus everything over 50 years old should be knocked down or altered. I was so sad when I returned to E-town over holidays and saw a hole where my former home -- the Arlington Apartments -- used to be

Anonymous said...

The Arlington may have still existed today were it not for a destructive fire, but your point about the perverse psychology of Edmonton still stands.

It'd be a terrible shame if the Garneau was no longer.

Idealistic Pragmatist said...

While I'm not one of those "preserve anything, everything" types, losing a landmark like this would be a real shame. I hope they rethink this.

Paul said...

The Arlington would have still been there today if had not been left to rot for three years after the fire.

Anonymous said...

How conservative of you to want to preserve an institution from the past!

Lummer said...

Man, John Day did such a crap job with the downtown Sobeys, I can't believe he would touch this.

Man, I so miss the Pig & Whistle too. Stupid new Empress. And there was that one night the Black Dog bathroom was sort of somewhat clean.

Laurence Miall said...

Fair comment about the fire at the Arlington, but I know there was debate about restoring it afterwards, and the decision went in favour of demolition.

Nastyboy said...

While I love the neighbourhood ( I used to live there) the Garneau theare is a shit hole. It's also private property and the owner can do whatever he wants with it. And film buff will still have the Pricess and the Metro.

Hope they leave HLD and the Sugar Bowl alone. I love those places.

Anonymous said...

The garneau theatre will not be changing much, or moving. it will retain its historic value with perhaps only a few minor alterations which will ultimately result in a longer-lasting theatre.as for the other business, they will be there for a little while longer and what is to be put in their place is to be determined. though, I highly doubt some big chain businesses will end up there. edmonton, and the garneau are famous for its historical value and i believe that whatever goes into the 109street area will only increase this value. who said change has to be bad?

Brett said...

The Garneau Theatre is staying. We'll see what the renovation entails, but maintaining old buildings are good things. You don't want them to be shoddy.