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Plaza Theater

1133 Kensington Rd. NW,
Calgary, AB T2N 3P4


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Categories: Theatres

A nostalgic glimpse of The Plaza's beginning. Courtesy of the City of Calgary's Heritage Sites archive...
"Hillhurst was subdivided in 1906, annexed to the City in 1907, and grew as Calgary's population boomed prior to World War I. Many services were needed in the working class suburb and businesses sprang up to meet the demand. One such establishment, a garage, opened for business in 1929. In the mid-thirties, the original use changed. Jim Finney, who had recently moved to the area, recalled the transformation:
"'I watched the Plaza Theatre being built in the early thirties. It was renovated from an old garage. We used to spend all our Saturdays there. The cost of a show was 10 cents. Half the time we'd sneak into the place. The first guy had the dime and he'd have to go in and open the back door and let the rest of us in because we didn't have the money.'
"The rejuvenated garage opened as a theatre in 1935 and is a good example of a building which has responded to the emerging demands of a community. A full house is common in this theatre which often screens old film classics. The building features stucco cladding in a facade treatment which owes as much stylistically to the western 'false front' tradition as the Modern movement, with its moulded parapet and taut plastic use of the building skin.
"The Plaza Theatre's long and varied life adds a special dimension to the atmosphere of the vibrant Kensington area of northwest Calgary."