Princess Theatre Canada, Edmonton

Princess Theatre

The Princess Theatre is a two-screen art-house cinema located at 10337 Whyte Avenue in Edmonton’s historic Old Strathcona neighbourhood. The building was designed by prominent Edmonton architects Wilson and Herrald, a firm responsible for the design of many other Edmonton heritage sites. It became Edmonton's oldest surviving theatre after the demolition of the Gem Theatre in 2006. The building currently houses the main 400-seat theatre as well as the 100-seat Princess II, located in the basement.

It was originally known as the McKernan Block, after John W. McKernan, the building's original financier, owner, and manager. McKernan was already a recognized theatre operator having previously run two other south side theatres before the Princess: the south side Gem and the South Side Bijou. Only the Princess was to survive the collapse of Strathcona’s building boom in 1913.

The building and the theatre within has changed ownership several times, and its fortunes have largely depended on the current state of the Canadian theatre industry. It spent a dozen years as a retail space from 1958–1970, and six years from 1970-1976 mainly exhibiting mainstream pornographic films. The Princess was operated successfully as a repertory theatre from 1978 to late 1996, after which it became a first run theatre. Until 2016, the Princess was operated as a first run theatre by Edmonton’s native Magic Lantern Theatres. From January 2016 the Cinema is being operated by Plaza Entertainment.

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