Uptown Theatre is constructed.

The two-storey steel, concrete and brick structure is built to resemble a Moorish palace, and overlooks a major street in one of south Winnipeg's mixed residential-commercial neighbourhoods.

The interior of Uptown Theatre shortly before its conversion to a bowling alley in May, 1960.

Academy Uptown Lanes was very popular with youth, and thrived for a number of years. In fact, this particular bowling alley is credited with bringing "glow bowling" into Winnipeg and reviving the

bowling scene.

The property in its present form, ready to be ushered into the next phase of its long and fruitful life - Uptown Lofts!

1931

1960

1969

2020

The Uptown Theatre was built in 1931 as the latest in a series of theatres designed by Russian-born Winnipeg architect Max Zev Blankstein, and owned by another Russian Winnipegger, Jacob "Jack" Miles. Max Blankstein was among the very first Jewish architects to register and practice in Manitoba.

 

The Uptown Theatre, a whimsically exuberant representation of the Moorish architecture of Spain, is one of two 'atmospheric' theatres built in Winnipeg during the industry’s Golden era of the 1920s and 1930s. Max Blankstein drew on precedents established in Chicago to make the substantial structure an imaginative and exotic part of the entertainment package – one designed to appeal to moviegoers from well beyond the affluent south Winnipeg residential area in which the Uptown was situated.

It was as though the theatre itself reflected the far-away and exciting locales that were present in the films that audiences would go to see. These Golden Age films included the horrifying Frankenstein (1931), the Mata Hari (1931), and the thrilling and fantastical Tarzan the Ape Man (1932).

 

As technology became more and more complex and portable, Winnipeggers began to go to the "picture shows" less and less as they became accustomed to watching shows in their homes with the help of the modern television set. The once-grand Uptown Theatre fell into disrepair, and the decision was made to gut the interior and turn this theatre into a bowling alley.

Academy Uptown Lanes opened in 1960, and thrived until closing its doors and relocating in April 2018. This particular bowling alley is credited with bringing "glow bowling" into Winnipeg and reviving the bowling scene.

 

Uptown, with its domed towers and rich array of exterior elegance, continues to be a community landmark.

Uptown Theatre (1931 - 1960)
Uptown Bowling Lanes (1960 - 2018)
Images courtesy of Heritage Winnipeg Resource Centre.
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uptown@globepm.ca

P: 204.789.4295   F: 204.956.5956

500 St. James Street, Winnipeg MB, R3G 3J4

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