Community Day at York Theatre

The recently restored heritage building opens its doors to the public this Sunday.

June 19, 2015

Coinciding with Car Free Day on the Drive, the Cultch opens York Theatre’s doors to the public this Sunday (June 21). Offering free entertainment, snacks, popcorn, and crafts throughout the day, locals can take advantage of this great opportunity to check out the completed renovation of the 100-year-old gem (RSVP here). The York was refurbished at the tail end of 2013 and now runs mainly as a rental venue, with the end goal of expanding Vancouver’s arts scene by encouraging artists, actors, and dancers in the community.

Way back in 2013, we spoke with the lead architect of the revitalization, Gregory Henriquez. Here’s what he had to say about the reno.

The York was slated for demolition. Now it’s reopening this December. What happened? The York had been operating as the Raja movie house when a developer bought it in 2008. It wasn’t on the heritage registry, and I got roped into a group that went to Vision Vancouver’s first council meeting to save it.

You were successful! We asked the city to subsidize a revitalization project 100 percent. Normally, costs are shared with the province and the feds, but the council was gung-ho to do right by the community and we got it approved.

What will we see when it’s finished? We’re saving the hall—350 seats or so—but everything else is new. The York was built in 1931 as one of the first vaudeville theatres. We’re restoring the front to its art deco stage, and adding a 1,500-square-foot lobby framed in glazed red tiles to look like a metaphorical arch with curtain.

You’re known for social justice projects like Woodward’s. Why this? Heritage is an important piece of telling the story of where we come from. We have few fragments of the past left here. If we we can save history, we should.

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