Royal Theatre - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member The A-Team
N 48° 25.403 W 123° 21.734
10U E 473200 N 5363422
Quick Description: The restoration and preservation of the Royal Theatre's facade between 2004 and 2006 earned the 2006 National Achievement Award from the Heritage Canada Foundation. The theatre is located at 805 Broughton Street in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.
Location: British Columbia, Canada
Date Posted: 12/22/2014 9:11:55 PM
Waymark Code: WMN433
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member fi67
Views: 2

Long Description:
The following description of the Royal Theatre is provided by the Canadian Register of Historic Places:
The Royal Theatre, constructed in 1913 during the Victoria building boom, is valued as one of the grandest surviving examples of large-scale vaudeville theatre architecture in Canada. Its value lies in its major architectural features and in its historic function as a theatre for live performances.

Architecturally, it is the exterior treatment of this theatre's Broughton Street facade which is considered to be its most exceptional design feature. The four storey scale, decorative diaper pattern of multi-coloured brickwork, and ornamental glazed terra cotta tile of this design are the key elements which set the Royal Theatre apart from other theatres of similar vintage across the country. It is one of the most significant and outstanding historic architectural landmarks outside of the Old Town District.

Although the Royal Theatre was used as a movie theatre for a period of time, its original purpose (in particular between 1913 and 1930) was for use as a facility for live dramatic, musical and vaudeville performances. The intact auditorium, which retains such authentic elements as bas-relief plasterwork, a cantilevered single balcony, and an intact orchestra pit, is reflective of the opulence and importance of the performing arts and public entertainment in the city in the early twentieth century. Originally constructed under the direction of the Victoria Opera House Company Ltd. (est. 1912), with funds supplied by a group of local entrepreneurs, it is significant that the Royal Theatre continues to be home to such local arts organizations as the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera Victoria. Royal Theatre continues to be an appropriate setting for generations of events central to the social and cultural life of Victoria.
The following description of the restoration work is provided by the Hallmark Heritage Society:
From project inception, the Royal & McPherson Theatres Society was committed to a restoration process that followed the Standards and Guidelines for the Conservation of Historic Places in Canada. All restoration work has used materials and techniques consistent with original construction to the greatest extent practical.

It was known that the front facade had long ago deteriorated to a condition which necessitated removal of some of the terra cotta blocks out of concern for the possibility of pieces falling onto the public sidewalk below. Out of similar concern, chain link fencing materials had been secured over high level areas of the wall to restrain the parapet, terra cotta balustrade and upper cornice. A full and detailed survey of the front facade was carried out to determine the extent of deterioration and to assist formulation of a restoration plan. Elements where significant portions were broken and missing or where they had deteriorated sufficiently to warrant replacement, were carefully removed and utilized as models for reproduction. Illustration of many pieces was provided by measurement and drawings, however, in some instances actual blocks were shipped and used directly by artisans as models for reproduction. Earlier work had sometimes used substitute materials including fiberglass and cement, all of which was removed and recast in terra cotta. All replicated blocks were cast in materials within an approved colour range consistent with that found on the building after cleaning.

The existence of some architectural elements could only be discerned through careful examination of historical photographs and drawings. These were replaced with terra cotta designed to be compatible with the original appearance and intent. Wherever possible, deteriorated elements were repaired using recognized conservation methods and materials compatible with the historic terra cotta. Cleaning of all exterior masonry on the front facade was conducted only after testing of various cleaning materials. All masonry on the front facade was repointed using a weak mortar which was designed to match the original in colour and texture. The upper parapet wall and upper terra cotta elements were seismically stabilized. In all of the work, attention was paid to the suitability and durability of repair and restoration materials so as to ensure its endurance into the future.

The meticulous restoration of the Broughton Street facade of the Royal Theatre has returned this Victoria landmark to its former glory and generations of visitors can once again view the exquisite detailing that had been hidden for years. The Royal and McPherson Theatres Society is to be commended for undertaking this expensive and lengthy restoration that sets a good example for public stewardship of heritage resources.
Award Collection:
2006 - Heritage Canada Foundation National Achievement Award - 2006 - Hallmark Heritage Society Michael Williams Award -

Number of award plaques:: no

Sites web address: [Web Link]

Type of awarded site: Single building

Other type. Please explain: Not listed

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