Historic Sites of Manitoba: Roxy Theatre / Roxy Lanes (385 Henderson Highway, Winnipeg)
This dark red brick building on Henderson Highway in Winnipeg, measuring 65 feet by 120 feet, was designed by local architect Max Zev Blankstein and built in 1929 at a cost of about $150,000. Excavation was done by contractor James Murray Reid and the theatre itself was built by day labour with work overseen by the city engineering department's John Worthy Battershill to ensure that fireproofing requirements were met by owner Jacob Miles.
The 1,200-seat, two-storey theatre opened to the public on 24 December 1929. It featured a Spanish-style draw curtain while the ceiling consisted of a blue-sky image with lights in the ceiling creating an image of twinkling stars and slowly drifting stars. The inside walls were decorated in the style of Spanish Moorish houses with sloping tile roofs and windows which were curtained and lighted. The lobby contained a stone fireplace built from Tyndall stone while the outside of the theatre featured a 10-foot neon sign.
The theatre closed in May 1960 and reopened as a 20-lane bowling alley on 3 December 1960, nearly 31 years to the day after its original opening. The bowling alley closed in 2022 and, at the time of a 2023 site visit, the building was vacant.
“New Winnipeg construction,” Manitoba Free Press, 1 June 1929, page 46.
“New theatre will open on Christmas Eve,” Winnipeg Tribune, 21 December 1929, page 19.
“Roxy,” Manitoba Free Press, 25 December 1929, page 4.
“East Kildonan Building; New Roxy Theatre,” Manitoba Free Press, 1 February 1930, page 30.
“Grand opening tomorrow [Roxy Lanes],” Winnipeg Tribune, 2 December 1960, page 25.
Max Blankstein: Architect by Murray Peterson, Winnipeg Architecture Foundation, 2022.
385 Henderson Highway, Winnipeg Architecture Foundation.
“Roxy Lanes could face wrecking ball after being sold, heritage advocates fear,” CBC News, 16 April 2022.
We thank Glen Toews for providing additional information used here.
Page revised: 11 August 2023