An historic building in downtown Calgary gets new life as a concert and event space.  

All around our fabulous city lately, we’ve been noticing historic buildings getting a hip new lease on life as must-see venues and event spaces, with renovations that reveal and celebrate the original beauty of the building. One of our favourite recent make-unders is The Palace Theatre, a movie house circa 1921, located right in the heart of downtown Calgary.

The Palace Theatre was built by theatre architect Howard Crane, and is now one of only three examples of Crane’s work left standing. The theatre showed its last film – Tango & Cash, for those who were dying to know – in 1990. Several years later, the building saw a somewhat brief fling as a nightclub, followed by a turn as a hockey hub, in a joint venture between the Flames and Concorde Entertainment Group. In January of this year, The Palace Theatre made a triumphant return to its original name, and found new purpose as an event space and concert hall. Having seen the revitalized venue firsthand, we can guarantee you’ll find no shortage of inspiration here.

Designated a national historic site in 1996, The Palace Theatre has always been a beautiful example of historic architecture and design. Recent renovations were undertaken carefully, with care and consideration given to restoring and maintaining the original character and beauty of the building – and it shows. When you visit the space, take a moment to look around and admire the elaborate plaster ceilings, and detailed artwork around the balconies that flank the stage. It’s easy to get lost in your surroundings in here, and we found ourselves lingering – okay, gawking – a little longer to take it all in. Gorgeous marble staircases don’t hurt either, creating a sense of grandeur in a venue that simultaneously manages to feel intimate.

While the design elements have retained their historic roots, the technology is nothing less than state-of-the-art, with improved acoustics and an audio-visual system that will knock your socks off, whether you’re putting on a rock show, or pulling off the corporate seminar of the year. Onsite catering and full bar services are another major offering, with third-floor private seats accessing exclusive service, washrooms, and bar, and every seat in the house comes with amazing sightlines. To ensure smooth sailing and efficiency, we’ve already developed site plans that maximize the venue’s potential.  

We’re thrilled to see forward-thinkers in the city invest in our historic buildings, restoring them to their former beauty, and reimagining how they can be used to welcome in a new generation of visitors. From its beginnings as the site of the first public radio broadcast in Calgary, this building has seen quite a lot – and we think the future is going to be just as exciting.