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Royal Theatre

805 Broughton Street, Victoria, British Columbia, V8W, Canada

Formally Recognized: 1988/05/12

Exterior view of the Royal Theatre, 2004.; City of Victoria, Liberty Walton, 2004.
northwest elevation
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Other Name(s)


Links and documents

Construction Date(s)


Listed on the Canadian Register: 2004/08/17

Statement of Significance

Description of Historic Place

The Royal Theatre is a large building distinguished by a four-storey tall decorative brick and terra cotta facade. It is located at the corner of Broughton and Blanshard Streets.

Heritage Value

The Royal Theatre, constructed in 1913 during the Victoria building boom, is valued as one of the grandest surviving examples of large-scale vaudeville theatre architecture in Canada. Its value lies in its major architectural features and in its historic function as a theatre for live performances.

Architecturally, it is the exterior treatment of this theatre's Broughton Street facade which is considered to be its most exceptional design feature. The four storey scale, decorative diaper pattern of multi-coloured brickwork, and ornamental glazed terra cotta tile of this design are the key elements which set the Royal Theatre apart from other theatres of similar vintage across the country. It is one of the most significant and outstanding historic architectural landmarks outside of the Old Town District.

Although the Royal Theatre was used as a movie theatre for a period of time, its original purpose (in particular between 1913 and 1930) was for use as a facility for live dramatic, musical and vaudeville performances. The intact auditorium, which retains such authentic elements as bas-relief plasterwork, a cantilevered single balcony, and an intact orchestra pit, is reflective of the opulence and importance of the performing arts and public entertainment in the city in the early twentieth century. Originally constructed under the direction of the Victoria Opera House Company Ltd. (est. 1912), with funds supplied by a group of local entrepreneurs, it is significant that the Royal Theatre continues to be home to such local arts organizations as the Victoria Symphony and Pacific Opera Victoria. Royal Theatre continues to be an appropriate setting for generations of events central to the social and cultural life of Victoria.

The evolution of the Royal Theatre can be seen in lobby additions on the building's east and west facades, added as part of an extensive rehabilitation and revitalization program which occurred in the 1980s.

Source: City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Character-Defining Elements

The character-defining elements of the Royal Theatre include:
- the prominence of the theatre at the corner of Broughton and Blanshard Streets;
- the distinctive four-storey tall largely unbroken Broughton Street façade, articulated by decorative brickwork and glazed terra cotta ornamentation, and punctuated by the theatre's original main entrance;
- the theatre auditorium, with its large proscenium-arch stage, cantilevered balcony, and orchestra pit, and the interior decorative elements such as bas-relief plasterwork;
- the use of this theatre as a centre for performing arts.



British Columbia

Recognition Authority

Local Governments (BC)

Recognition Statute

Local Government Act, s.967

Recognition Type

Heritage Designation

Recognition Date


Historical Information

Significant Date(s)


Theme - Category and Type

Expressing Intellectual and Cultural Life
Learning and the Arts

Function - Category and Type


Auditorium, Cinema or Nightclub


Architect / Designer

W. D'Oyly Rochfort and E.W. Sankey


Pinner and McLennan

Additional Information

Location of Supporting Documentation

City of Victoria Planning and Development Department

Cross-Reference to Collection

Fed/Prov/Terr Identifier




Related Places

General view

Royal Theatre National Historic Site of Canada

The Royal Theatre is a large, brick-faced theatre building occupying most of its urban lot in downtown Victoria.


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