Our son sent us this picture the other evening on messenger. Without being told where he was - I knew exactly where he was standing the moment I saw this incredible dome.
And in a blink a memory popped into my head and I was standing there too.
I was seven or eight years old the first time I saw that medallion domed ceiling. I, along with several other girls my age had been taken to this place to see the movie Sleeping Beauty. It was the very first movie I had ever seen in a theater, or anywhere else for that matter - maybe that is why it is forever etched in my memory...
That would not to be the last last time I would stand and look up at that dome, not by a long shot!
This beautiful piece of Architectural History is in the Metropolitan Entertainment Center in downtown Winnipeg... lovingly referred to as "THE MET" by most Winnipegers.
The Met was built in 1919 by the Allen brothers, and originally named the Allen Theater.
It was a Palace of Theaters, one of many that the Allen brothers built and ran in Canada at the time.
It was massive - the main auditorium and Mezzanine held 2,500 seats.
The Allen brothers declared bankruptcy in 1923 and the theater was closed. It was then purchased by The Famous Player Corporations and renamed the Metropolitan Theater in 1923. It reopened in August 1923 with a trombone concert by Vaudeville musician Grace Brewer Allen and the feature film Circus Days.
from the Winnipeg Free Press in 1923
In the late 1960s and early 1970's I would visit this theater many many times to watch whatever current movie was being shown. It was usually an all- day Saturday outing with my friends. Hop on the Grant bus - first stop Eaton's to shop, then to the Met to see a movie, and then have something to eat at the little restaurant right next door.
You can barely see that little restaurant beside the theater in this picture, and I don't remember the name of it... Denise - help me out here!
The restaurant was just as important as the theater, to my friends and I. Reason - you could get your tea leaves read there!
I remember the first time it was suggested we do this. Denise had been with her friend Judy, and they had gotten their tea leaves read, so naturally it was suggested we try it. I was terrified. I remember thinking that my Mother would kill me if she knew I was doing such a thing. It all had such a forbidden feel to it.
But I was brave, and in the end terribly disappointed with the results. No knight in shinning armour for me -at least not then!
Sadly the Met closed in 1987, and it sat vacant for 25 years.
It was purchased by Canad Inn's and was completely restored to its former glory. In 2012 it reopened as the Metropolitan Entertainment Center.
It now is a multi purpose venue - restaurant, dinner theater, and event center.
It remains one of Winnipeg's most beautiful places to visit.
Jon, was standing under that dome when he took the picture, because his fiance works at the Met, and he was waiting for her to finish her shift so he could accompany her home.
Who knew all those years ago that a theater I sat in as a child would someday still play an important role in my own child's life!
Life is truly amazing - is it not?