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#21 RevoxA77

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 02:46 PM

I'm a little late coming into this conversation. I can assure you that Peter Pollen did not buy the Royal Theatre. It was purchased by Oak Bay, Victoria and the District of Saanich in 1972 under the leadership of the three mayors involved for $250,000, a damn good price considering it cost $400,000 60 years earlier. It was purchased as a stop gap while the multiple municipal groups sorted out how and where to build the big new Performing Arts Centre. They are still working on that idea.


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#22 Nparker

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 04:04 PM

...It was purchased as a stop gap while the multiple municipal groups sorted out how and where to build the big new Performing Arts Centre. They are still working on that idea.

And I suspect they will still be working on this idea 40 years from now. So long as we have our ridiculous collection of fiefdoms no real regional change can ever hope to come about.



#23 LJ

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Posted 17 February 2014 - 06:26 PM

^Yeah, and if we amalgamated they would agree on site right away and get busy building. Not.


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#24 Jill

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 06:29 AM

I'm a little late coming into this conversation. I can assure you that Peter Pollen did not buy the Royal Theatre. It was purchased by Oak Bay, Victoria and the District of Saanich in 1972 under the leadership of the three mayors involved for $250,000, a damn good price considering it cost $400,000 60 years earlier. It was purchased as a stop gap while the multiple municipal groups sorted out how and where to build the big new Performing Arts Centre. They are still working on that idea.

 

That's what I understood. I suspect Pollen's purchase of the Malahat Building got mixed up with his role as mayor in the acquisition of the Royal.



#25 G-Man

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 08:57 AM

And I suspect they will still be working on this idea 40 years from now. So long as we have our ridiculous collection of fiefdoms no real regional change can ever hope to come about.

 

I am not positive but a performing arts centre is often brought up as a need but is it really? How is Victoria currently underserved I mean for a city of 400k seems we have quite a few quality venues.


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#26 tedward

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 09:25 AM

^Yeah, and if we amalgamated they would agree on site right away and get busy building. Not.

 

It would certainly move faster AND we could apply for federal grants that are only available to cities of over 250,000 population.


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#27 Rob Randall

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 09:28 AM

I've said this before but a performing arts centre would be great but who could afford to use it? Arts funding has been cut to the bone, budgets are tighter than ever. It's like giving a teenager a "free" Lamborghini.


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#28 Nparker

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:05 AM

I am not positive but a performing arts centre is often brought up as a need but is it really?...

I am not saying necessarily that it IS needed, just that the idea has been bandied about for at least 40 years and as long as the current governance structure stays in place we'll never get the recognition and potential funding given to other areas of similar population.



#29 aastra

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:08 AM

Seriously though, we should probably all be thankful that a 1970s-era centre was never built.


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#30 G-Man

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 10:43 AM

^ No kidding! Think of the upgrade cost we would be facing right now. 


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#31 RevoxA77

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:13 PM

I think the real issue is that the municipalities that provide the funding to the arts have a problem with determining what their goals are and if they are achieving them. The City of Victoria actually contributes a substantial amount of funding to the arts community, and exclusively funds the McPherson Playhouse. However with poorly established goals it is hard for them to continue to justify spending the amount that spend now, to say nothing of what it would cost to build a new performing arts centre.



#32 Ken Johnson

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 12:38 PM

The Royal Theatre was constructed in 1913 by a local group of businessmen. They formed the Victoria Opera House Company and purchased the property at Blanshard and Broughton as well as the property immediately behind at Blanshard and Courtenay. The Company included many movers and shakers of the day and included Simon Leiser, Fred Pemberton, Sam Matson, Francis Rattenbury and  many others. It had the support of then Provincial Premier Sir Richard Mcbride and, at one time, was to be called the McBride Theatre in his honour. Architects were W. D’Oyly Rochfort and E.W. Sankey

 

The project went over budget and the Victoria Opera House Company failed to pay many bills resulting in mortgage defaults and many debtors taking company shares in lieu of payment.

 

Opening was December 29, 1913 with a performance of Kismet starring Otis Skinner.



#33 LJ

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Posted 18 February 2014 - 06:44 PM

It would certainly move faster AND we could apply for federal grants that are only available to cities of over 250,000 population.

Would it? If the usual suspects from Victoria council held the reins of power we would just study it to death and never build it.

 

Applying and getting are two different things unfortunately.


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#34 Ken Johnson

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:07 PM

From the Daily Colonist of February 1, 1913

 

Contract Let for Steelwork
 
Shareholders of Victoria's New Theater Company Hold a Meeting and Advance Work in Building Construction.
 
Following the enthusiastic meeting of the shareholders in the Victoria Opera House Company Ltd. held on Wednesday in the Board of Trade rooms, the newly named Board of Directors of this company held a meeting yesterday in the offices of the Stewart Land Co., 101 Pemberton Block and by acclimation, re-elected Mr. Simon Leisor President of the Board, and Mr. D'O Roquefort secretary and treasurer.  On motion of Mr. F. B. Pemberton, both officers were thank most cordially for the splendid service they had given in the organization of the Company and in the initial work upon Victoria's new playhouse.
 
At the shareholders meeting on Wednesday the provisional board of directors were re-elected and Mr.A.E. Todd and Andrew Wright were added to the Board.  Among the original directors were Mr. Simon Leisor, Mr. J. B. H. Matson, Mr. Arthur Lineham, Mr. R.T.H. Elliott, Mr. F.B. Pemberton, Mr. D'O Rochfort and Mr. D.R. Kerr.  During the course of the meeting President Leisor addressed the shareholders at length upon the affairs of the Company and the progress of work upon the theater.  He set forth clearly the multitude of details with which the provisional directors had been compelled to deal and gave the shareholders for the first time an idea of the great amount of work involved in financing a modern playhouse.
 
Unanimously Thanked
 
A motion by Mr. Todd, seconded by Mr. Wright, that the provisional directors be thanked by the shareholders for their services to date was passed by unanimous vote.
 
At the meeting yesterday the directors, once they had qualified for service, proceeded to the business of the Company.  President Leiser took the floor to inform the new members of the Board that, presided over by himself, a committee of the provisional board and decided to let the contract for the structural steel for the new theater to the United States Steel Products Company, and for the erection of the steel on the theater site to Mr. E.E. Davis, a builder of bridges of note in Canada and presently engaged erecting the 42 story Smith Building in Seattle.  He asked that the letting of the contracts as set forth be confirmed by the new directors and this was done without question.
 
In setting forth the reasons which moved the provisional directors to make the contracts as indicated, President Leiser made known clearly the exact condition of the steel market in both Canada and the United States.  "Theater construction," said he, "is different than any other construction which our steel mills are called upon to supply.
 
Responsible for Lives
 
"Every time that a performance is given in the theater this company will carry the liability for hundreds of lives and this fact has been borne in mind at all times by our architects and engineers, under our instructions.  When we called for tenders the fact was disclosed that all the steel mills in America are thousands of tons behind in their orders and that no mills, except those of the United States Steel Products Company, could guarantee delivery of our steel in a shorter time than eight months to a year, unless we should permit them radically to vary the plans laid down by the architects and engineers.  The fact was also disclosed that practically all of the companies bidding purchased by far the larger part of their steel stocks from the United States Steel Products Company, and we deemed best to do business with that concern direct, particularly in view of the fact that it guaranteed to complete our steel delivery within four months, without a single substitution or variation.
 
Quick Delivery Necessary
 
When it is considered that for every week during which the new theater is unopened next season the company will lose hundreds of dollars in profits, the importance of quick and accurate delivery becomes evident.  Mr. Davies, the erector, guarantees on his part to finish the erection of steel on the theater site within six weeks after the steel is delivered to him on the cars in this city."  Mr. Pemberton spoke in support of Mr. Leiser and approved the action taken.
 
Now that the provisional board has become the permanent guiding body of this company, with definite and fixed powers, progress upon the new theater promises to be much faster than in the past.  For a matter of that, the slowest and most difficult part of the work, the excavation, is completed, and work upon the reinforced concrete foundation will be begun as soon as the necessary outfit can be assembled on the site.  The first fraction of the foundation will be put in by the Pacific Coast Construction Company, which held the contract for the excavation and tenders will shortly be called for the remainder of that part of the construction.
 
"From now forward," said Mr. Arthur Lineham yesterday, "the growth of the new theater will be more evident and I am confident that there will be no material delays.  Excavation has been a much more difficult task than we had expected the we now have that off our hands.  Thus far the work upon the theater has been wholly downward.  From now on it will go up, where everyone may see it.  The directors find the affairs of the Company in excellent shape and knowing that they have the unanimous support of the shareholders they are prepared to go through with our big project with all enthusiasm to matter at what cost to our personal affairs.  We have promised Victoria the handsomest and most modern theater in the West.  Within a few months we shall have made good our promise and next season will see this new playhouse opened with a full list of bookings which already have been arranged.
 
Mr. Charles A. Forsythe was selected...........................


#35 Mike K.

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Posted 23 February 2014 - 03:26 PM

Hey thanks for that Ken!


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#36 Greg

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Posted 07 December 2018 - 03:20 PM

This could be hugely disruptive to the Downtown arts scene...

 

https://www.timescol...ling-1.23522019

 

"The cost of renting the Royal Theatre will double next year for local non-profits, a decision that has arts groups reeling and one, the Victoria Symphony, changing locations for some concerts.

Three longtime users — Victoria Symphony, Dance Victoria and Pacific Opera Victoria — say the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society, which runs the theatre, made the change with little consultation."

 

They're also changing rules around when and how these groups can book dates (hugely problematic for Pacific Opera for example) and blocking them entirely for the last half of December (no Ballet Victoria presenting "The Gift", no Symphony presenting Viennese New Year or Christmas programs.)

 

Sounds like the Symphony is moving about half of their performances out to UVic. This will adversely affect lots of other local groups as well. The three groups mentioned in the article account for about 91% of the weekend bookings.



 



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