5 Things You Didn’t Know About the Vogue Theatre

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Each week we’ll uncover some unusual and (hopefully) interesting facts about the city. This week we take on the Vogue Theatre.

1. The Vogue opened as an architectural marvel

Photo courtesy of the Vogue Theatre.
Photo courtesy of the Vogue Theatre.

The Vogue Theatre made its debut as one of the most significant architectural accomplishments in the city. The theatre was designed in the Art Deco style and has numerous features that also lean towards later incarnations of Art Deco, or Art Moderne. Defining characteristic include the theatre’s sleek lines, curved and fluid connections, streamlined contours, terrazzo panels and terra cotta piers. The Vogue was designed by architects Kaplan & Sprachman and took only one year to build.

2. The Vogue officially opened in 1941 as a movie theatre

City of Vancouver Archives: CVA 1184-49. Lindsay Jack.
A Sea Cadet Marches inside the Vogue in 1942. City of Vancouver Archives: CVA 1184-49. Lindsay Jack.

Following the swift construction process, the Vogue opened in 1941, serving primarily as a movie theatre for Vancouverites that were eager for stylish entertainment. The first screening was of the 1938 British ice-hockey-comedy, I See Ice, but the theatre quickly earned a reputation for one of the best live-concert venues in the city. The first musical performance at the Vogue was by none other than Dal Richards and his band in April 1941.

3. The theatre is probably (definitely) haunted

Vogue TheatreThere are so many reports of the Vogue’s supernatural qualities, but some of the most famous accounts refer to a shadowy figure that floats throughout the venue’s infamous underground dressing rooms. That specific hallway has been so ripe with sightings that many employees now refer to it as the “haunted highway”. Many staff members have witnessed a dark haired man that has made consistent appearances throughout the theatre space throughout the decades. There have also been reports of the seats in the main concert area mysteriously opening closing on their own accord.

4. The architecture is as clever as it is stylish

Photo courtesy of the Vogue Theatre.
Photo courtesy of the Vogue Theatre.

On top of being a prime example of Art Deco/Moderne styles, the Vogues architects cleverly hid the theatre’s functional elements within its stylish decor. The air conditioning system and ducts are concealed within the room’s ceiling coves and proscenium columns, while the ceiling, composed in a series of plaster coves, conceals mechanical systems and improve the acoustics of the room. The lighting system has also been concealed, resulting in a fluid, immersive concert experience.

5. The Vogue sat empty for 5 years

Photo courtesy of the Vogue Theatre.
Photo courtesy of the Vogue Theatre.

The Vogue’s original owners, (the Reifel Brothers), sold the theatre to a development company in 1987 and wasn’t reopened until 1992. The theatre’s hiatus wasn’t exactly a bad thing, during the 5-year stretch, the theatre was restored and re-opened as one of the best live music venues in the city. The theatre was officially recognized by the federal government on November 20, 1993, under Historic Sites and Monuments Act.

Read more from our “5 Things You Didn’t Know” series HERE.