"A fixture on Wyandotte Street East between Lincoln and Gladstone for our three-quarters of a century. The Olde Walkerville Theatre has undergone many changes since its grand opening in 1918. Designed by renowned theatre architect C. Howard Crane, who later gained fame by designing Detroit's Fox Theatre (which holds the distinction of being the largest continually operating theatre in the U.S) and Earl's Court in London.
When the theatre first opened, it was illegal to show movies on Sunday in Walkerville. The Tivoli became known in 1930, enjoyed great success by offering both silent movies and vaudeville acts, guaranteeing it an audience every day of the week. Early theatre-goers could choose to watch the shows from either Windsor or Walkerville, as the town border ran right down the middle of the theatre!
Vaudeville gradually faded away after the introduction of sound motion pictures in the late 1920's, but live theatre made a short-lived comeback in 1959 when the Windsor Light Opera Association staged a musical and briefly considered buying the acoustically exquisite building for its permanent home.
The Tivoli was instead converted back into a movie house was known as "The Tiv" until closing in 1965. In later years it was briefly resuscitated as a bingo hall, then as a community music/dance studio and for a short time as a gay nightclub.
In 2013, the building was converted into a venue for small local theatre companies, live music and special events by its current owners, Mary and Andy Lambros, who are expending considerable resources and finances to restore the 7,500 square foot Walkerville Theatre to its former glory."
- Daniel Wells & Craig Pearson - From the Vault: The Windsor Star
Revival of a Landmark
Pictures when it was purchased
The Olde Walkerville Theatre was designed by Architect C. Howard Crane, who also designed Detroit’s Fox Theatre. The Theatre was built between 1918-1920 and officially opened its doors on September the 20th of 1920. Since its inception, it has been many thing, but it has continued to be a landmark building in the Old Walkerville neighbourhood.
The Theatre is currently owned by Mary & Andy Lambros. Out of their love for the arts and the community, they are thrilled to be returning the Theatre back to its glory. Although it will be a work in progress, they look forward to the community support throughout the process.
The venue is a one-of a kind in the area and we look forward to being a part of the Walkerville community for another 100 years.