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Early Theatre in Calgary

Jacob Bell, or "Jack" Barron was instrumental in the Calgary Theatre community from the early 1920s until 1969. From 1923 to 1927, he managed the Palace Theatre, booking a variety of world famous acts.

Grand TheatreIn 1937, Barron purchased the Grand Theatre, built in 1912 by James A. Lougheed. The Grand could boast years of hosting live music and theatre, but by 1937, was predominantly a film theatre. In 1941, the theatre joined the Odeon chain and was incorporated as the Odeon (Grand) Theatre Ltd.

Uptown TheatreIn 1949 Barron designed and commenced construction of the Barron Building, which included, on the ground floor, the Uptown Theatre. Located at 610 8 Avenue SW, the building was completed in 1951. Dubbed Calgary’s first skyscraper, shortly after it was built, Mobil, Shell and Sun Oil opened their offices there, which ultimately led to Calgary being the corporate oil capital of the province. Around this time, Barron also acquired the Odeon Theatre at 2101 – 33 Ave. SW as well as the 17 Ave. Drive-In.

The family businesses were incorporated in 1958 under the name of Barron Enterprises Ltd. When Jacob Barron passed away in 1965, theatre operations were resumed by his sons until 1969, when the theatres were sold to the Odeon Corporation.

Palace TheatreThe Palace Theatre, located at 219 8 Avenue SW, remains an historical building in Calgary. Renovated in 1998 it currently functions as a nightclub. The Uptown, located in the Barron Building, was also renovated in the late 1990s and continues to screen independent films in the Calgary community. The Grand Theatre, located at 608, 1 St. SW, exists as one of the few remaining examples of a Canadian vaudeville house built before the First World War.

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