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Opening at the height of the vaudeville circuit, the Walker Theatre played host to some of the biggest stars of that era such as Shakespearian actor, Sir John Martin Harvey.


The austere exterior was because the theatre was to be a part of a larger complex that would feature a hotel and retail space, but which never were built.


"Ben-Hur: Klaw & Erlanger's Stupendous Production" was undoubtedly the most extravagant theatrical creation to visit the early Walker theatre. At one point it featured three horse-drawn chariots at full gallop live on stage.


that the theatre was not quite finished when these shows occurred. Te Walker officially opened February 18, 1907. Te exterior of the building features tall, plain brick


walls because the original idea was that the Walker would be a part of a larger complex, including a hotel, and retail space. Tis plan never came to fruition, and the exterior of the Burton Cummings Teatre still fea- tures those tall brick walls.


16 • Spring 2017


The early Walker was also promi- nent in Manitoba history when Nellie McClung and the suffragists staged a "mock parliament" in January 1914. In January 1916, the government of Manitoba was the first to grant women the right to vote.


Te interior features an ornate, column-free, vaulted ceiling that contributes to the building’s terrific acoustics. It is also as fireproof as a theatre can be, and the 1,798 seat auditorium was one of the most luxurious amphitheatres in North America. Te Walker Teatre enjoyed a quarter-century of suc- cess hosting ballets, opera, and Broadway-style shows. But hard times were coming.


The Hub


Photo © National Portrait Gallery London


Image courtesy of the United States Library of Congress.


Image courtesy of Library and Archives Canada.


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