GRAND OPERA HOUSE
St. Catharines, ON
From 1993 to 1995 Janis Barlow undertook a research project
on the Grand Opera House in her hometown of St. Catharines, Ontario. Initially,
in 1993, she convened an archaeological design charrette to study the remnants
of the former auditorium building of the St. Catharines Grand Opera House.
Theatre architect Mandel Sprachman, theatre consultant Richard Smerdon, local
architect Norman Macdonald and conservators, historians and architectural
historians volunteered their time to examine the building and concluded that
while it should be documented, it was not an ideal candidate for restoration.
Subsequently, Janis Barlow analyzed primary and secondary
research on the Grand Opera House and generated a report that documented the
archaeological, historical and architectural significance of the St. Catharines
Grand Opera House.
With an opening date of September 1877, the Grand Opera House
represented the oldest trace of a detached, graded ground floor, purpose-built
nineteenth-century Academy of Music or Grand Opera House remaining in Canada. It
was demolished in 1998.
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