Garneau Theatre

Loved by generations of Edmontonians, this Moderne theatre was designated and restored to its original glory in 2009.

Carrying the namesake of Laurent Garneau, a prominent Métis person and friend to the Papaschase Cree, the Garneau Theatre was built in 1940 by architect William G. Blakey. The theatre displays early examples of the Moderne style in Edmonton.

Blakey and his Moderne ideas, which are exemplified in this building, had an enormous effect on the architectural character of the city. Typical of this style, the structure is a series of rectangular boxes with long horizontal lines. The larger two storey box contains the theatre and is situated behind a one storey retail section. Both parts have flat roofs and use two-tone colours to enliven the surfaces and distinguish geometric decorations. On the larger rear portion, two toned bricks are used to form a series of broad horizontal lines that spell out “GARNEAU”. On the storefront side, there are coloured details on the stepped marquee and stucco overhangs. The distinctive marquee also features pot lighting and neon signs to attract maximum attention.

The Garneau Theatre was the second cinema built outside the downtown core in Edmonton. It still operates as a theatre and has long been a local landmark. The Garneau was the second of Walter Wilson’s Suburban Theatres, the first being the Roxy on 124th Street. In 1941 it was leased to Famous Players who continued to operate the theatre until 1990. The lease was taken over by Magic Lantern Theatres, who operated it as an independent film house until June 2011 when it was taken over by the local non-profit Metro Cinema Society. In 2009, the building underwent an extensive restoration with inauthentic materials removed to make the theatre look like it did in the 1940s.



Social and Recreational

Designation Status

No Historic Recognition



Year Built


Architectural Styles


Character Defining Elements

Cantilever projections , Decorative brick , Flat roof , Glass block , Marquee sign , Polished stone , Speedlines , Stucco cladding , Two storeys