(photo credit Ian Meissner)
(photo credit ~ Chilliwack Museum)
When the Paramount Theatre first opened on June 9, 1949 it was billed as being 'completely ultra-modern, including the modern miracle of air conditioning, soft restful spring chairs, sound installation and a popcorn and candy bar in the lobby.' It accommodated six hundred and eight people on the first floor with another 292 on the balcony level. It had a sloped floor and high screen and it was boasted that even the shortest theatre-goer would be able to see over the tall lady with the high hat in front of them.
On November 3, 2010 the Paramount Theatre closed its doors for the last time. After 61 years...it could no longer compete with the new multi-plex theatres on the outskirts of town. Landmark Cinemas donated the theatre and the property to the city of Chilliwack. Though it seemed like a generous gift at the time...it was soon discovered that to refurbish and restore the old theatre would would not be the fiscally responsible thing to do. The tax payers would not say 'thank-you'. Last summer our city council voted (6-1) to demolish the old building. So now we will have to wait and see what the future holds for that site.
Though The Paramount is gone...we have our memories. And some even have theatre seating as a souvenir...complete with popcorn stains and old chewing gum. The seats were given away...in sets of four...by way of random draw from all who applied. My name was not in the hat...though I considered it throwing it in.
We carried on past the demolition site...and went for lunch at another lovely old spot in our city. The Royal Hotel has been in business for over a hundred years...and served up wonderful Chinese food back in the day. For many decades I had not entered the building...but in the recent past we have been there for lunch several times. The Royal Cafe is under new management...and is a nice new/old place to go.
Thanks for joining me today on a tour of my historical hometown.