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Granada Theatre National Historic Site of Canada

53 Wellington Street North, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1996/06/05

Exterior front elevation; Parks Canada / Parcs Canada (N. Clerk) November 1995.
Théâtre Granada
Front facade showing the Spanish Revival style.; Parks Canada
Front facade
Interior decor of the auditorium characteristic of atmospheric cinema; Parks Canada

Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)

1928/01/01 to 1929/01/01

Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/09/30

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

Granada Theatre National Historic Site of Canada is three storey building built up to the sidewalk facing Wellington Street in downtown Sherbrooke, Quebec. The Spanish Revival theme of the facade continues inside with splendid interior decoration evocative of a Spanish courtyard at night.

Heritage Value

Granada Theatre was designated a National Historic Site of Canada in 1996 because it is a magnificent example of an atmospheric theatre in Canada

The heritage value of the Granada Theatre resides primarily in the fabric, quality and richness of an interior decor that has remained virtually unchanged since the theatre was built.

Atmospheric cinemas typically employed painted decor, and this is a particularly spectacular one created by interior decorator Emmanuel Briffa. The Granada Theatre itself was designed by architect D.J. Crighton and built by the United Amusement Corporation in 1928-29. It served as a venue for cinema and live performance continuously to 1980, then was renovated as a multi-functional auditorium by the City of Sherbrooke in 1988.

HSMBC Minute, June 1996

Character-Defining Elements

Key elements that define the heritage character of this site include:

- the L-shaped massing of the building,
- the concrete and steel construction materials and techniques,
- the symmetrically organized, Spanish Revival-style facade,
- vertically subdivided into three equal layers - a high base storey for the entrance with wide main door flanked by two smaller doors; a middle portion featuring two banks of windows framed within a cartouche and flanking windows with balconets at the second storey level; and an attic-level false front topped by a decorative scrolled pediment;
- the interior subdivision of the theatre into two volumes (a rectangular space at the front serving as the ticket office, entrance hall and long corridor, and a square space to the rear containing the amphitheatre screen, auditorium and balcony),
- the features of the interior decor of the auditorium characteristic of atmospheric cinema:
- a plaster ceiling painted in blue and decorated with stars (both painted and represented by lights),
- a nocturnal effect accentuated by projections of clouds, birds and occasional planes
- the Benograph machine (created to project nocturnal effects above),
- walls, curtain and backdrop painted in trompe d'oeil to resemble an exotic romantic garden (the courtyard of a Spanish villa with buildings on the side facades and a garden mural at the rear),
- the surviving, original interior decoration and finishes of the halls, corridors and ticket area, including floors, walls, ceilings and fixtures




Recognition Authority

Government of Canada

Recognition Statute

Historic Sites and Monuments Act

Recognition Type

National Historic Site of Canada

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)

1929/01/01 to 1980/01/01

Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Architecture and Design
Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Sports and Leisure

Function - Category and Type



Auditorium, Cinema or Nightclub

Architect / Designer

D. J. Crighton


Emmanual Briffa

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

National Historic Sites Directorate, Documentation Centre, 5th Floor, Room 89, 25 Eddy Street, Gatineau, Quebec

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




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