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Showing posts from May, 2016

A Brief History of the Walker Theatre

Long before the Burton Cummings Theatre was renamed after the lead singer of the Guess Who, it was called the Walker Theatre, named for Corliss Powers Walker, the man who brought entertainment to Winnipeg.

Walker was born in Vermont. His family moved from Minnesota when he was young. As an adult, he ran a printing business in North Dakota with his brother, and was the business’s manager. In the 1890s, Walker became interested in an industry a world away from printing: theatre management. He became the manager of the Fargo Opera House, and acquired other theatres in North Dakota and Minnesota.

The first Canadian theatre Walker purchased was the Bijou Theatre in Winnipeg, which had previously been Victoria Hall. It stood at 34 Adelaide Street, at the intersection with Notre Dame Avenue. He renamed it the Winnipeg Theatre, and he moved to Winnipeg to manage it himself in 1897. The Winnipeg Theatre became the flagship theatre for Walker’s network of theatres, called the Red River Valley c…