Silent Film Music in Downtown Ottawa (1900-1928)

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Click the 15 yellow building outlines to learn more about each theatre. Click "View Fullscreen" for better navigation.

The dates given for personnel equate to when they are mentioned in association with a theatre. The star next to some time ranges (*) indicates that the year is merely the earliest or latest dated mention and that the person could have been with the theatre longer than this range. Please refer to the cited sources for a better understanding of these years.


This exhibit shows the role of music in Ottawa's movie showing theatres during the silent film era and is based on research conducted for the following thesis on the musical practices of silent film showing theatres: Elsa Marshall, "Silent Film Music Research as Local Musicology: A Case Study of Musical Practices and Networks in Ottawa theatres from 1897 to 1929," (master's thesis, University of Ottawa, 2017).

For more information on the 1928 aerial photo refer to the following Item page. Not all the theatres noted here were still standing by the time the aerial survey took place.

Unless otherwise indicated, information on locations and dates of cinemas are based on the following sources as well as Ottawa Journal articles cited in Appendix 1 of Marshall's thesis. Alain Miguelez's book includes maps that have more locations of theatres during this time and he discusses theatre management and architecture in more detail.

Alain Miguelez, A Theatre Near You: 150 Years of Going to the Show in Ottawa-Gatineau, Manotick: Penumbra Press, 2004.

Insurance plan of the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Sept. 1902, reprinted May 1912, Vol. 1 revised 1915, sheet 35, Library and Archives Canada, R6990-513-2-E, MIKAN no. 3827543.

Insurance plan of the city of Ottawa, Ontario, Volume 1, September 1902, revised 1912, Library and Archives Canada, R6990-513-2-E, MIKAN no. 3816030.

Please write to with questions, information, or comments.

Created by Elsa Marshall, December 2017