Did You Know Who Began the Mayfair Theatre? You will be Shocked!


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December 5, 1932 marked the debut of the Mayfair on the Ottawa entertainment scene. The previous June, Fred Robertson, the son of an Almonte general store keeper, had persuaded his father that establishing a theatre in Ottawa was a good idea. So father and son set to work and completed construction of the Mayfair complex the smoke shop, restaurant and barber shop adjoining the theatre belong to it in the relatively short span of six months.

It opened at 7 o’clock on a Monday night. A newspaper report of the time commented: “For the premier opening the management were fortunate in being able to obtain the grand and glorious romance, ‘The Blue Danube.’ “Music that reaches the heart, gay abandoned rhythms that make your feet twitch in sympathy are featured in this love story you will all remember. “This picture, with Joseph Schildkraut heading the cast, will be shown on this screen for three days, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Independent “For the end of the week, the management have been successful in securing that great African thriller, ‘Bring ‘Em Back Alive.” Since that day, when it “slipped quietly and ostentatiously into the entertainment life of this city,” the Mayfair has remained an independent theatre, owned and operated by the same Fred Robertson.


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The theatre, with its 600-plus seating capacity, now specializes in screening double bill attractions featuring second run movies. For a patron it means a choice between seeing a recently released movie in a downtown chain theatre at an average cost of $2.50 per adult, or waiting to see two movies, each perhaps a year old, at the Mayfair for the cost of $1.75 per adult.



William McIlquaham From The Theatre to the Fire

The Star Theatre–or Funny Things Said in a Local Theatre

Billy the Kidd’s Mistress — Roxy Theatre Time

So What Was Playing at The Roxy Theatre?

Larry Goldstein and The Roxy Theatre of Carleton Place

Memories of the C.P. Cinema –Carleton Place Theatre

Almonte at Night — 1946

Seeds of Love–Almonte Cinema – Then and Now

About lindaseccaspina

Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda was a fashion designer, and then owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa on Rideau Street from 1976-1996. She also did clothing for various media and worked on “You Can’t do that on Television”. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off on American media she finally found her calling. She is a weekly columnist for the Sherbrooke Record and documents history every single day and has over 6500 blogs about Lanark County and Ottawa and an enormous weekly readership. Linda has published six books and is in her 4th year as a town councillor for Carleton Place. She believes in community and promoting business owners because she believes she can, so she does.

4 responses »

  1. My mom lived at 5 Ossington in Ottawa and loved to go to the “show”. As a young girl she would often go for the day and take in more than one movie. They also gave out a plate, cup etc. each time you went. We had a whole set of dishes that were from the Mayfair. I still have some of the dishes.


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