May 13, 2013

Towne Theatre Interior: Lobby

There have been few locations around Medicine Hat, Alberta that I've wanted to explore quite as badly as this one. So, when I finally got the opportunity to go inside the now closed Towne Theatre last month, I was incredibly excited to see how the space was holding up.

towne theatre medicine hat alberta
towne theatre medicine hat alberta


Not unlike the Monarch Theatre, my memories of the Towne Theatre are rooted in my childhood and teenage years in the '90's and early 2000's. Because of this, I clearly remember the decline of both downtown theatres as the new Cineplex in the mall became the go-to location. With only 3 screens, the Towne struggled to compete with the 10 screens in the mall. As is the story for a lot of older cinemas, the Towne just continued to get a little rougher around the edges before finally closing its doors in 2007. 

towne theatre medicine hat alberta

As I entered the lobby it looked exactly as the employees must have left it before turning out the lights. The signage above the ticket booth still lists Reno 911, Astronaut Farmer, and The Queen. The reference materials are all dated for 2007. The prices are still up at the concession, and the marquees above the theatres still list the films that had been screened there. The lobby isn't derelict by any means, but it all just looks a bit sad covered in a thin layer of dust.

towne theatre medicine hat alberta

Not all the lights in the theatre work anymore, but the vanity bulbs around the lobby did. I was instantly struck by nostalgia, and the familiar glow had me reminicising about all times I waited for popcorn with friends, with family, with girls. I saw a lot of big movies here growing up like Independence Day and Titanic, but the last time I came here was in 2005 while home from university for the summer. We saw Spielberg's War of the Worlds.

towne theatre medicine hat alberta


The velvet ropes are now tucked away in a back storage room. Stacks of letters for the front marquee gather dust on shelves. A few kernels of popcorn are left scattered around the popcorn maker. But most fitting was the marquee above the main theatre, which read "March 8, 2007 The Last Picture Show" - a fitting reference for the Towne Theatre's final day in operation. The building is currently for sale and may someday be renovated or repurposed, however it seems unlikely that it will ever operate as a cinema again.  

I was buzzing as I wandered further into the abandoned movie theatre. From the lobby it was into the main cinema, projection rooms, and upper cinemas.










towne theatre medicine hat alberta




towne theatre medicine hat alberta














towne theatre medicine hat alberta
towne theatre medicine hat alberta









6 comments :

Anonymous said...

Great series of pics!! I didn't grow up here but was at a few movies before it closed. Then I worked in Real Estate and have been in the depths of that theatre taking pictures, etc for the real estate listing years ago. Super cool place to be back in, but also a bit creepy too, especially when you get into the basement. I also found that ANY pictures I took in the theatres didn't turn out. Every single one of them was blurry. Your shots are great! Such great pics of a seemingly timeless landmark!

Editing Luke said...

Thanks for sharing. I got some great pictures inside the theatres, and will be sharing shots from the main theatre in next week's post. Definetely a bit eerie in there, but a very cool space!

Anonymous said...

I have a lot of memories tied to that theatre. The pictures are lovely.

jayne.irwin33@gmail.com said...

tears are flowing freely. So wonderful to see the cinema again. Spent my growing up years in both the Monarch and Town Cinema. Keep up the good work and let me know if I can help any way...I am no one important, but love our city. It is my home. Jayne A. Irwin

Anonymous said...

Thanks so much for these amazing pictures! I worked there in the early 80's and this brings back a lot of great memories!

Josh Johnson said...

Well done, lots of memories in those theatres. By any chance do you have contact info for the owner? I would love to touch base with him and see if any of those "coming soon" frames are available for sale!