Fire raises questions over future of Snowdon Theatre
Published Saturday, March 26, 2016 5:42PM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, March 27, 2016 7:03PM EDT
A day after a fire damaged the iconic Snowdon Theatre on Decarie, questions remain about the abandoned building’s future.
Opened in 1937, the Snowdon Theatre was home to movies until it closed in 1982.
“I can remember coming here 40, 50, 60 years ago when it was such a beautiful theatre, the art deco inside,” said Snowdon Deli owner Ian Morantz.
While the building has not shown films in decades, it was in use as recently as 2013 as a home for a children’s gymnastics program. But that ended after the theatre’s condition was deemed to be too run down. It is currently owned by the city and despite its unique architecture, there is no set plan on what to do with it.
“It is an iconic building,” said city councillor Marvin Rotrand. “People know it’s art deco but what they don’t know is it’s a distinctive style called streamline moderne.
“The city bought it and we used it for some of our offices, but also as a gymnasium,” he added. “But looking at the cost of fixing the roof and fixing the building, sustaining the structure, it was just too expensive and the city feels somebody else might be able to give new life to that building.”
While some prospective buyers have come forward, but conditions in the area, such as a lack of parking make development an issue.
Firefighters say the fire broke out at 5:11 p.m. on the second story of the three-story building at the corner of Decarie Blvd. and Queen Mary Rd. in Côte-des-Neiges.
The extent of the damage as well as the cause of the fire are not yet known. Since the building lacks gas and electricity, Montreal police are investigating.
Busy week for Montréal firefighters. Presently operating at a third alarm fire in the old Snowdon Theatre. pic.twitter.com/hC7AajA4sx— Chris Ross (@chrisvpross) March 26, 2016