It’s sat empty since 2004, and shows signs of damage from rain, cold and neglect. But Hamilton’s historic Tivoli Theatre is about to be given new life, as the cornerstone of a controversial downtown condominium project.
The Tivoli Theatre dates back to 1875 and has housed a carriage factory, live vaudeville acts, a storefront nickelodeon, movies and live stage shows. It was closed in 2004 after a portion of the frontage collapsed. Although the lobby was demolished, the auditorium remains, and is about to be included in a controversial condominium project that was given the green light by the city earlier this week.
“It’s a unique space within Hamilton especially in an arts district. There’s no other theatre in this part of town. It’s also an interesting size. We have 200 seat theatres, and then we have theatres that are for a thousand. This sits in the middle around that 500 range” says Drew Hauser from McCallum Sather Architects.
The Tivoli will be rebuilt incorporating modern theatre technology and facilities. The ornate interior, damaged over time will be restored to it’s once grand splendour. “The items we would be keeping in the theater are all actually listed in the designation. It includes the raked floor, the seating arrangement, it includes the plaster work, and mouldings…so we would be keeping all of those components. Some of them require repair and they would be done by professionals in heritage conservation profession.”
Once designs are finalized and soil remediation completed, construction can begin on the condo tower. The developer is hoping to have the entire project ready within three years.