The Charles & The Garrick Centre
A point of interest on the Winnipeg in the Limelight GPS-guided audio walking tour.
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If you look across the street, you'll see a perfectly ordinary, if run-down, building which as of 2019 still had a big old sign that says Charles on the front. As you can probably guess, it was once the St. Charles Hotel, however it stood vacant for years. Despite this, the building made a small cameo in the film Capote starring Philip Seymore Hoffman.
Set in 1959, the film follows Truman Capote, Hoffman, as he researches a Kansas murder case for a novel and grows close to one of the killers. It was filmed in Winnipeg over 36 days and features a number of prominent Winnipeg venues such as the Manitoba Legislature and the Burton Cummings Theatre. The St. Charles Hotel plays a much smaller role, when Capote places a phone call from a booth outside. Reportedly, it was a blistering cold day during filming and just off screen were a handful of space heaters all pointed at Hoffman.
Now let's keep walking and curve around the building to your left. As you turn the corner, you may see a brightly coloured mural along the wall of the building directly in front of you, across the street. There's also a sign that says 'The Garrick Centre'. The Garrick was built in 1921 during the glory days of the silver screen in Winnipeg. By all accounts it was a luxury movie theatre with a fireplace, marble floors, and seating for 1,500. Inside the auditorium were oak paneled walls, leather seating, and an orchestra pit for 12 musicians. Since then, the theatre has seen a number of changes. In the 1940s, a new sound system was added to accommodate the "talking pictures" that were all the rage, and by the 1950s a new screen had been added. With this new screen, the Garrick was able to debut the first 3-D film in Winnipeg (1953's Bwana Devil). Around this time, the exterior of the theatre was also modernized. Today, the Garrick is a performance venue.
Though the Garrick has shown many films, none are as unusual as 1974's Phantom of the Paradise. Director Brian De Palma's rock musical/comedy/tragedy flopped in almost every other North American city. In Vancouver, Calgary, and Edmonton, the movie was only shown for a week. In Winnipeg, at the Garrick Theatre? It ran for a whopping 18 consecutive weeks. Why did the film succeed in Winnipeg and almost nowhere else? No one knows, but the film has become a cult classic since it's debut.
Winnipeg in the Limelight
This POI is featured on the Winnipeg in the Limelight Audio Walking Tour, part of the Tripvia Tours mobile app available for Android & Apple.
All audio walking tours are GPS-guided and include fully narrated commentary.
Each POI has a fun multiple choice trivia challenge you can test your skills on.
The trivia questions are separate from the commentary and completely optional.
The app keeps score for you so you can challenge your friends and family.