‘Absolutely devastating’: Fireplace destroys historic movie theatre in The Pas, Manitoba

A virtually 100-calendar year-aged theatre in northern Manitoba is no more.

The Lido Theatre in The Pas, which dates to 1929, was eaten by flames and intensely ruined by water as two fireplace departments worked to extinguish the blaze on Monday. 

“It can be a devastating decline for our community. I know a good deal of people are upset,” said Mayor Andre Murphy.

A preliminary investigation has established the result in to be arson, RCMP spokesperson Sgt. Paul Manaigre said in an e-mail on Tuesday.

RCMP were called just soon after 4:30 a.m. Monday and when they arrived, there was already comprehensive smoke pouring from the making, he said.

Flames and smoke rise from a burning building.
A tower of flames erupts from the theatre on Monday. (Opaskwayak Cree Nation Hearth Department/Fb)

Fire crews from The Pas and Opaskwayak Cree Country arrived shortly afterwards and battled the flames collectively.

“They fought it really well all day,” Murphy claimed, but added that the composition is a total decline.

“The city will have to just take the creating down as rapidly as feasible so not to injure any person in the neighbourhood.”

The theatre had been closed given that the begin of the pandemic in 2020. The city then acquired it via a taxation sale in November 2023 and experienced been tentatively setting up a revitalization venture to transform it into an arts centre.

“So our council had place forward about $50,000 this 12 months to cleanse up the building to see what possibilities were there,” Murphy reported. “I feel that our group was getting energized.”

A firefighter kneels in the foreground, spraying water onto a smoking building.
The Lido Theatre was engulfed in flames, smoke and drinking water on Monday. (The Pas Hearth Office/Fb)

Former operator August Rivalin, whose terrific-grandfather was between the the Lido’s founding companions, said a close friend termed him at 6 a.m. Monday about the fireplace.

“I consider I am even even now in shock,” he stated. “For me, it wasn’t just a theatre, mainly because I grew up in the making. My grandmother lived in there [in an upper-level apartment] and we employed to have Christmas dinners in the creating.

“1 of the very first photos of my father keeping me is in the basement when I am 6 days outdated.”

The fire destroyed a long time of historic artifacts, memorabilia and documents, which include the unique blueprints and lots of of people aged family photographs.

The blueprints ended up not only for the design of the a few-storey building, but also for facts these as how stars in the ceiling have been laid out, Rivalin said.

The Lido, which came full with an orchestra pit, was an atmospheric theatre designed with façades of quaint buildings and other components to evoke a sense of staying outdoor.

Interior of an old movie theatre with red seats and carpet.
The interior of the Lido was lined by atmospheric facades. (August Rivalin/Manitoba Historic Culture)

It was created by architect Max Zev Blankstein, who is also behind several theatres, flats, homes and warehouses in Winnipeg.

The Lido was the initially theatre in Western Canada made particularly for films with seem, in accordance to the Manitoba Historic Culture. 

Rivalin experienced hoped to sooner or later frame the blueprints and exhibit them “someplace where individuals could take pleasure in them.”

He also had a great deal of individual possessions in the making and was operating with the town on getting them back again. Rivalin lived in a person of the residences right up until the theatre was offered.

“The materials things, like whatsoever, you can invest in more of that. But some of those artifacts, they are irreplaceable,” he said.

Black and white photograph of an old movie theatre seen from the street. A car from the 1930s is parked out front.
The Lido was the 1st theatre in western Canada designed specifically for films with seem, according to the Manitoba Historical Culture. The marquee in this undated photo advertises ‘talking pictures.’ (Flin Flon Heritage Challenge/Manitoba Historic Modern society)

In advance of he was compelled to provide the theatre, Rivalin had hoped to restore it himself. He had been hoping to get grants and donations, but it proved to be a battle.

He was joyful the town took ownership through the sale.

“I felt like that would be the greatest way for it to be preserved for another 100 decades” as opposed to a personal owner maybe tearing it down, he mentioned.

Losing it is going to have a major affect on the neighborhood, he stated.

“It was normally these types of a hub of relatives-pleasant exciting. I assume the fact that it can be long gone in these a long-lasting way so speedily is a shock to everyone.”

There are probable “really handful of people today” in town without a story about that theatre, Rivalin said. “Numerous very first dates and 1st movies for generations.”

Murphy counts himself amongst those with a reel of memories.

“We all went there for the Saturday matinees for 25 cents and received a bag of popcorn and a pop and a chocolate bar and then acted out the movie on the way household. So yeah, it is definitely devastating,” he stated.

Obtain to the developing experienced been blocked, as it was not open to the community, Murphy explained.

Everyone with info about the fire is requested to call The Pas RCMP at 204-627-6204.

Anonymous strategies can also be identified as in to Manitoba Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477 or submitted online via the web page.

Arson suspected in Lido Theatre fireplace

The RCMP is seeking for a suspect in an arson that destroyed an legendary northern Manitoba theatre. The Lido Theatre has prolonged been a fixture in The Pas but early Monday the 95-yr-outdated setting up went up in flames.