Skip to main content

Theatre Alley

Artery of Early Chinatown's Cultural and Commercial Centre

This photo by historian Cecil Clark shows Theatre Alley in 1959, looking north toward Fisgard Street (Royal BC Museum, BC Archives, H-05617).

This photo by historian Cecil Clark shows Theatre Alley in 1959, looking north toward Fisgard Street (Royal BC Museum, BC Archives, H-05617).

Theatre Alley followed the western side of the Finlayson Building from Cormorant Street (today’s Pandora Avenue) north into the centre of the block where Victoria’s fifth Chinese Theatre was built in 1885 between Cormorant and Fisgard Streets. The theatre was a tall building with two storeys – the upper level had windows and there were vents and skylights on the roof. Theatre Alley accessed the east side of the building, and a stairway to dressing rooms on the upper level. The theatre had deteriorated by the 1920s and in the 1930s, it was converted into an auto-body shop. Buckerfields sold market garden supplies from this space in the 1970s. In 1987, the former theatre was demolished to create a parking lot. Now, new condo buildings are being erected here, and Theatre Alley will be restored to its glory.


Sources

Lai, David Chuenyan. The Forbidden City within Victoria: Myth, Symbol and Streetscape of Victoria’s Earliest Chinatown. Victoria: Orca Book Publishers, 1991.

Sebryk, Karrie M. “A History of Chinese Theatre in Victoria.” MA Thesis, University of Victoria, 1995.