Pantages Theatre Update – October 31, 2008

Dear Friends:

Just a quick update…

The Pantages Facebook page, organized by Steven Lee of the West End, now has 639 members, and has linked to numerous others. It’s growing virally. They are promoting a petition to Council. We understand a YouTube video is in the works.

Our own website has received more than 3000 individual hits since 21 October, when PTAS president Peter Fairchild asked our supporters to write the Mayor and Council.

Heritage Vancouver, the Alliance for Arts and Culture, the GVPTA, CMC, CACV, and other groups have now contacted their members on our behalf, asking that they register their concern with the Mayor and Council.

On the weekend we received a visitor from NYC, in his capacity as a member of the League of Historic American Theatres. He was given a tour of the Pantages. They are deeply concerned about its destruction. More will be forthcoming.

Some 200 personal letters have now gone to City Council, asking them to re-consider, and to recognize the power of the Pantages Project to change Hastings x Main — forever.

Many writers are focusing on the power of the Pantages Project to ignite economic recovery in the 100 Block.

Others are focusing on the unique and irreplaceable value of the Pantages.

Yet others are expressing concern over the failure of the Project to realize the continuing problems of Chinatown.

Wrote Albert Fok: “This is grave news to Vancouver Chinatown and may even have dire and detrimental consequences to Vancouver Downtown Eastside (DTES) as a whole. For more than three years, the team responsible for attempting to restore the Pantages – the only one of its kind remaining – has endeavoured to bring back the theatre’s former glory and, in doing so, offers a glimpse of hope to the revitalization of DTES.

“Many communities and groups with diverse background and cultures have actually put their differences aside and pooled each other resources together to support this project; everyone collectively strives towards a common goal of making Pantages a vital venue for theatre arts and performances which, thereby, liberates DTES from its stereotyped shady image.”

A group of Chinatown business people has organized a dinner for tomorrow night to discuss these matters. It will begin at 7pm. We will be attending, per their request.

We have drafted a full-page ad in the Sun, accounting for the failure of the Project. Marc proposes to pay for this ad. It will cost $16,000.

The next group of potential investors looking at purchasing the half-block is touring the theatre and adjacent properties at 9am this Tuesday.

None of the purchase enquiries Marc has received to date include restoring the theatre. Most involve simply holding the land for some period. One proposal comes from a party that already owns land on the block.

Since August 2005, over 2200 people have toured the theatre, and recognized its extraordinary potential.

Marc has accepted our request to re-open the theatre prior to its actual sale. Anyone with a memory and a camera will be permitted to tour it one last time.

Thanks for reading this,