Posted by: Cornwall Community Museum | December 13, 2015

Photographs of the Week. The Palace Theatre Cornwall, Ontario.


The Palace Theatre, Pitt Street, Cornwall.  The 820 seat Place opened in 1921.  Known as “The House of Comfort,” it was the first theatre in Cornwall to be built specifically to show motion pictures.


Children lining up for the Saturday Matinee at the Palace Theatre.  The tower on Cornwall’s old town hall can be sen in the middle background.scan0025



A window at the Palace advertising Roy Rogers and Elmer’s Theatre Parties.  Grand prize, a CCM Bicycle.  These wildly popular parties were held in theatres across Ontario throughout the late 1950s on Saturday afternoons.


The renovated “Art Moderne” lobby of the Palace Theatre.  Theatre President Clarenc Markell renovated the Palace at a cost of $215,000.  Designed with a reinforced ceiling and wall “earthquake” bracings, the “new” 960 seat theatre reopened on June 2, 1948.


The new candy counter, 1948.  Markell said at the time that the new theatre was his way of paying tribute to his loyal patrons who deserved a “dignified, fashionable and theatre.”  Inside the outer lobby was decorated in beige, peach and lime green with modernistic furniture and a water fountain.


“Modernistic” furniture, 1948.  Simplicity was the keynote in design, “giving the theatre an appearance which is at once striking and eye pleasing.  There is a decided absence of frills or dreassiness” except for the “small islands of concentrated decoration.”


The Palace was renovated again sometime after the mid 1950s.


The candy stand in the mid 1950s.



Typical Saturday afternoon matinee mayhem.  No one really cared about what was on the silver screen, and if they did they were out of luck as they couldn’t hear it anyways.  You went for the party atmosphere.  Is there anyone you know in this crowd of eager Cornwallites?


The 2,000 light marquee was taken down in an effort to modernize the Palace.

The Palace, like many theatres across Ontario closed during the early 1980s, it reopened as Maximum Fitness.  This exercise club closed and the building was abandoned and eventually torn down.  The site is now a parking lane.

These are just a few photographs from the theatre files at the Cornwall Community Museum available for viewing research.


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