October 28th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 43
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Crowsnest Cando looking to resurrect the Roxy
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Submitted photo
Crowsnest Cando is working to resurrect the Roxy Theatre. Council was shown a presentation providing insight into what resurrecting the Roxy Theatre could provide for the community. Many local groups could benefit from the theatre re-opening and touring artists could also use the revenue to play concerts. Crowsnest Cando is currently in a fundraising phase to help aid in purchasing the building.
David Selles
Pass Herald Reporter
The Crowsnest Cando Society is looking at ways to resurrect the Roxy Theatre in downtown Coleman.

During a presentation to Council on Tuesday, October 20th, Council was provided information on multiple aspects of a potential project to return the Roxy Theatre to its former glory.

President of the Crowsnest Heritage Initiative Society and Crowsnest Cando Director, Fred Bradley, highlighted the steps that can be taken to restore the Roxy and also provided background on the building.

The Roxy Theatre was originally constructed in 1948 as a theatre after a fire destroyed the original opera house.

A new building was constructed in two sections to meet the entertainment and performing arts needs of the community.

The front section features an asymmetrical entryway, brick cladding, and a neon marquee sign.

The rear of the building is composed of a pre-fabricated quonset hut with seating for 338, a large movie screen and a stage.

The building housed the town’s movie theatre, symphony orchestra and local concerts.

The property is on the local heritage inventory and is currently being reviewed by the government of Alberta for provincial historic resource designation.

The Roxy has not been occupied since 2003.
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Bradley says the project vision is to rehabilitate the historic Roxy theatre as a multi-use community performing arts centre operating as a social enterprise.

Bradley says the timing is right for this project.

“Embarking on this project is both vital and timely. A refurbished Roxy theatre can facilitate the sustainability of a growing regional arts scene. Within Crowsnest Pass, two new theatrical production companies have formed; three new artist spaces have opened, on top of the already vibrant scene of an orchestra, music festival, film festival and various galleries. The revitalized Roxy can be made to serve our community for years to come not only as a performing arts centre but enhance current programming and embark on new programming to serve all the residents of the community.”

Bradley also mentioned that restoring the Roxy could benefit the community with the potential for industry growth in the area.

“The potential industry boom happening in our region and the influx of new residents will make the creation of a performing art centre even timelier as many new residents will want the cultural experiences they were used to in their former locals.”

According to Bradley there are also any other benefits for the community if the Roxy is restored, including the fact it would provide the community with a multi use performing arts centre for community groups and travelling artists/performers and serve as a catalyst for art and entertainment district and economic revival of downtown Coleman.
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Bradley says there would also be economic benefits to community via accommodation, food and beverage and cultural businesses.

Other benefits would include opportunities to engage youth in performing arts, for performing arts workshops, study space and cultural programming.

To date, Bradley says there have been many steps taken to get this project underway.

“A steering committee was formed to assess opportunity in December of 2019 and discussions with the owner about the project concept and right of first refusal also took place in December of 2019.”

Bradley also said during the presentation that they received consent of Crowsnest Historical Society to assess project feasibility in January of 2020 and applied for a feasibility study to “investment readiness program” of community foundations of Canada in February of 2020.

The Crowsnest Cando endorsed the project at their July 2020 AGM.

Bradley says they have started their fundraising and are hopeful to complete stage one by the end of the year.

“Stage one is to raise $50,000 through donations and grants by year end 2020 to assist with purchase of building.”

Stage two will be to raise $100,000 through donations and grants to complete all engineering, restoration and design studies needed to proceed with the project.

Stage three will then be to raise the necessary funds for the ongoing completion of the project, which Bradley says has a planned completion date of summer of 2023.

Currently, Crowsnest Cando is working to inform the community about the project and its benefits and will engage community partners and potential donors over the next weeks.

Bradley also says that if Wintervention will go ahead, there are plans to centre parts of the celebration around downtown Coleman and the Roxy Theatre.

Bradley finished his presentation by providing information on what Council can do to help this project move along.

"We'd appreciate if the municipality could endorse our project and provide letters of support for grant applications. We will also be requesting, once we've acquired the building, that the municipality consider waiving the property taxes on the structure to assist us with the ongoing operating expenses. There is a lot begin the post office and by the theatre that the municipality own, we'd ask you to consider allowing us to use that as parking."

Following the presentation, Council agreed that this project is something they would like to see move forward and be completed stating that this would help draw more people into the community in the future.

Crowsnest Cando will now continue to move forward with their fundraising plans to help purchase the building and restore the Roxy Theatre.
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October 28th, 2020 ~ Vol. 90 No. 43
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