Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Mid-century modern buildings & art

Currently home to the Vancouver Opera and Ballet BC, the Queen Elizabeth Theatre (1959) was the result of an international architectural competition held by the City in the mid 1950s when Vancouver asserted itself as a major player on the world’s cultural stage.

The winning Montreal firm of Affleck, Desbarats, Dimakopoulos, Lebensold, Sise  used period modernist styles and materials including cast-in-place concrete with minimal relief patterning, a glass curtain wall that melded indoors and outdoors, and an expansive public plaza.

The Vancouver Playhouse, a 667 seat theatre & recital hall, was added in 1962 and the epic Gerhard Hans Class bronze and steel fountain was installed on the plaza in 1971. A more contemporary work by sculptor Cameron Kerr was added to the plaza in 2012.

The Queen Elizabeth Theatre became a model on which to base many North American theatre complexes to follow and earned a spot on the Canadian Register of Historic Paces in 1996.

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