St. Thomas

Duncombe Opera House - St. Thomas

Overview

Address: 451-455 Talbot St., St. Thomas ON

"The three-storey red brick building at 451-455 Talbot St. was erected for Dr. Tyrell Duncombe and opened on Sept. 18, 1894 as the Duncombe Opera House, seating 1,000-plus patrons.

There were shops in the ground floor storefronts and professional offices on the second floor, and a St. David's masonic lodge on the third.

Later, the Hippodrome was the first moving picture theatre in our town."

Bunnell, Eric. "Come back to the five-and-dime..." St. Thomas Journal. May 2, 2014. Accessed June 20, 2017. www.stthomastimesjournal.com/2014/05/02/come-back-to-the-five-and-dime

Sources

Bunnell, Eric. "Come back to the five-and-dime..." St. Thomas Journal. May 2, 2014. Accessed June 20, 2017. www.stthomastimesjournal.com/2014/05/02/come-back-to-the-five-and-dime


Grand Opera House St. Thomas

Edited by

David DeGrow - 6/20/17

VENUE OVERVIEW

Venue Name *

Grand Opera House

Type

Music Hall

DATES

From

1873

Overview

Address:

Also Known As: Claris House

"At St. Thomas the old Town Hall on Stanley Street was the scene of local theatricals before 1873, when the Grand Opera House was built on Talbot Street with George Claris its principal owner and manager. 'Claris House,' as it was popularly called, had a single-floor auditorium with a circular aisle separating the orchestra and section seats.

After a fire at Claris House in 1885 or thereabouts, the building was rebuilt and redecorated. Around that time George Claris withdrew from the scene, selling the building to Ambrose J. Small, who predictably changed the name of the establishment to the Grand Opera House. It is not clear if Small had a hand in reconstructing the auditorium, but it is likely he did in the course of negotiating his purchase of the place. In any case, two balconies and four private boxes were introduced 'with the front section of the auditorium becoming the orchestra seating.' From an interior photograph of the Grand's auditoirum from the Ian D. Cameron Collection we can see that the house was a respectable forty feet or so high at the front and that the proscenium was framed somewhat severely by a moulded plaster surround.

This interesting theatre was no doubt among the vanishing species of its kind, doomed to extinction by motion pictures early in the twentieth century." (pp.265-266.)

Fairfield, Robert. "Theatres and Performance Halls." Early Stages: Theatre in Ontario 1800-1914. Ed. Ann Saddlemyer. University of Toronto Press, 1990. pp. 214-287.

Sources

Fairfield, Robert. "Theatres and Performance Halls." Early Stages: Theatre in Ontario 1800-1914. Ed. Ann Saddlemyer. University of Toronto Press, 1990. pp. 214-287.