In 1938 The Roxy opened in Edmonton and became an entertainment fixture in the neighbourhood. Designed by prominent architect William G. Blakey – whose Edmonton design credits include: Christ Church Anglican Church, Highlands United Church, The Central Masonic Temple, and The Garneau Theatre.
Its design was given glowing reviews by the Edmonton Bulletin which wrote “Smartly modern in design, with eye catching neon sign, white stucco with black trim and gleaming, well-lighted foyer, fully air-conditioned, seats arranged to assure positive screen vision and built for comfort upholstery and adequate rest room facilities, the Roxy is truly the up-to-the-minute expression of customer service in theatre construction.” The public seemed to agree. The opening reception was attended by many prominent Edmontonians, including Mayor John Wesley Fry and Lieutenant Governor John C. Bowen. -Edmonton Historical Board
Between the 1938 and 1989 the theatre operated as a movie-house and went through two different owners including Bill Wilson (son of Capitol Theatre owner Walter Wilson) and then Odeon (Suburban) Theatres until the 1980s. It was donated to Theatre Network by longtime supporter and board president Nancy Power in 1989 and converted to a live-theatre venue.
The live-theatre venue became an institution in the community. As the only live-theatre venue in the 124 Street area, the Roxy was known for its unique atmosphere and character. It was truly one of a kind until it burned down in January of 2015.
Just before 4am on January 13th, 2015 fire crews were called to the Roxy Theatre. The building was engulfed in flames, and despite their best efforts the firefighters were unable to contain the blaze. The fire department called it a “tough old fire” and were unable to determine the cause.
The Roxy, for many, held memories of ‘firsts’ – opportunities, experiences, and roles. For 77 years it was a gathering place for movie-goers, artists, and Edmontonians. It brought together people of diverse backgrounds to celebrate creation and unique artistic expression. The building served a wide variety of individuals one thing that the staff, artists, and audiences who frequented the building can agree on is that The Roxy always felt like home.