Montreal's Cinéma Impérial temporarily shut down

·1 min read
The Imperial Cinema building was originally constructed in 1913 and first operated as a Vaudeville theatre. Designated a historical monument in 2001, the concert hall and film venue hosts film festivals, movie premieres and special events. (Google Maps - image credit)
The Imperial Cinema building was originally constructed in 1913 and first operated as a Vaudeville theatre. Designated a historical monument in 2001, the concert hall and film venue hosts film festivals, movie premieres and special events. (Google Maps - image credit)

Cinéma Impérial, a landmark theatre and heritage building in downtown Montreal, was shut down Friday, after one of the building's walls was damaged during construction work happening next door.

Organizers of the Cinémania film festival said around 5:30 p.m., about 300 people were ordered to leave the building.

In a statement to Radio-Canada, Centre Cinéma Impérial (CCI) — the non-profit that manages the theatre — said, "following a situation out of our control that affected part of the structure of the building, Cinéma Impérial had to temporarily close all of its installations."

CCI said the move was precautionary and the building is not at risk of collapsing. It says it will remain closed until the structure is deemed safe — engineers will be coming to do a risk evaluation on Monday.

Cinéma Impérial was built in 1913 and opened its doors as a vaudeville theatre that same year. It changed hands several times through the 1900's and various owners made changes to the building.

In 2001, Quebec designated the theatre a historical monument and in 2004 it underwent an award-winning major restoration. The venue hosts several film festivals, movie premieres and special events each year.

Cinémania, which is showing films in person through Nov. 14 and online through Nov. 23, had to cancel one of its Friday screenings at the Impérial and relocate several others to an auditorium at Concordia University.

The festival says it's still working on alternative plans for three films that were scheduled to be shown at the theatre next week.

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