Century (Lyric) Theatre
Address: 14 Mary Street
Date Built: 1913 Date Destroyed: 2010
The 2300-seat Lyric Theatre opened in 1913 as a vaudeville and motion-picture house. The theatre was named as the result of a promotional contest where $200 in gold was the prize for the best name. Eighty Hamiltonians suggested the name, Lyric, and the prize was split among them, each receiving $2.50.
The Renaissance Revival style theatre was converted to Hamilton's first movie studio in 1920, and again renovated in 1922 as a vaudeville and movie house.
In 1940, the theatre was modernized and air-conditioned. Renamed the Century, the renovated interior of the new theatre still covers the original interior of the old Lyric. Another modernization in 1952 did little to save the Century from the same fate as all Hamilton's grand movie houses, and it closed in 1989.
Subsequently, the facade of the building with its semicircular Lyric logo was designated to be of heritage value by the City of Hamilton under the Ontario Heritage Act. Currently, the rest of the building is slated for demolition, to be rebuilt as condominiums.
Written by: Bill Manson
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