Dawson City Theatre

‘Diamond Tooth Gerties Gambling Hall ‘ is a gambling hall but with a nice twist: all proceeds go back into the restorations and upkeep in the town. It is also the venue for a current day ‘Cancan’ show.

As you walk around town, you will see the Palace Grand Theatre.

The view from the outside is very unassuming so you will be very surprised to find a spectacular theatre once you enter.

The Palace Grand Theatre was a combination of a luxurious European opera house and a boomtown dance hall built in 1903 by “Arizona Charlie Meadows”, a wild west showman. The gala-style opening in 1899 brought in a hefty $40,000! The Palace Grand played host to a variety of entertainment, from wild west shows to opera. Whenever the show got a bit slow, “Arizona” himself would get on stage and perform shooting tricks for the audience.

After it was destroyed by fire, the theatre was meticulously rebuilt from the original plans and every aspect of the original theatre was replicated.

But the most fascinating story in my opinion, has to be about the ‘Dawson Film Find’. Apparently, Dawson City was the last stop in the film circuit. Rather than incur an expense of sending them on anywhere, they were simply stored in the basement of the library. When the arena was being built in 1929, it was decided that the hole that needed to be filled would be a good place to send all these films that were sitting there in the library.

In 1978, after Parks Canada started to restore Dawson City, 533 reels of silent-era reels of silent-era nitrate films were ‘discovered’ which has been unintentionally preserved by the permafrost. A documentary was created called “Dawson City: Frozen Time” which compiles clips from this historical find.

Stayed tuned … there’s more to come….

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