Manitoba Historical Society
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Historic Sites of Manitoba: College Theatre (1296 Main Street, Winnipeg)

This brick building along Main Street in Winnipeg was commissioned in 1921 by Winnipeg Amusements Limited. Construction of the $135,000 structure was managed by developer Andrew Robert McNichol for owner Kenneth M. Leach. Taking its name from the nearby St. John’s College, it opened as a venue for motion pictures and live performances with seating for around 1,000 people. It featured luxury cushioned wicker chairs, a large stage along, and a $10,000 organ. The interior walls were decorated in ivory, blue, gold, and old rose colours and large tapestries. The foyer was cladded in marble and tile. A showing of Mac Sennett's six-reel comedy A Small Town Idol followed an official opening on 25 June 1921. It operated as the College Theatre until being acquired in 1971 by the Jehovah’s Witnesses who used it for their events. Around 1983, a single-floor annex was added to provide a banquet hall and kitchen facilities. By 1993, the property was put up for sale and the building was subsequently purchased for use as a church.

The newly-constructed College Theatre

The newly-constructed College Theatre (June 1921)
Source: “New College Theatre opens tonight,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 25 June 1921, page 2.

The College Theatre

The College Theatre (no date)
Source: Archives of Manitoba, Architectural Survey - Winnipeg, Main Street - AP [Additional Photographs], No. 43.

The former College Theatre

The former College Theatre (April 2018)
Source: Nathan Kramer

The former College Theatre

The former College Theatre (April 2018)
Source: Nathan Kramer

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.92253, W97.12732
denoted by symbol on the map above


“New College Theatre nearing completion,” Manitoba Free Press, 9 June 1921, page 9.

“New College Theatre opening next week,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 10 June 1921, page 11.

“Rush to completion,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 14 June 1921, page 17.

“College Theatre conveys beauty,” Manitoba Free Press, 18 June 1921, page 31.

“College Theatre to open about June 25,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 18 June 1921, page 3.

“New College Theatre opens next Saturday,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 23 June 1921, page 10.

“New College Theatre opens tonight,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 25 June 1921, page 2.

“New suburban theatre opens,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 27 June 1921, page 10.

“6 Firms obtain incorporation,” Winnipeg Evening Tribune, 17 August 1921, page 9.

“A business review of Winnipeg in 1921,” Manitoba Free Press, 28 January 1922, page 4.

“Movie house seeks new life,” Winnipeg Free Press, 10 January 1993, page B2.

This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.

Page revised: 16 May 2021

Historic Sites of Manitoba

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