Built in 1927 by Famous Players as a “photoplay” and vaudeville house, the Columbia Theatre was the centrepiece of New Westminster’s bustling Columbia Street. Its “stage set” design reflected the popular “atmospheric” ornamentation of Hollywood-themed movie palaces. The facade features twisted terra cotta Moorish columns extending above the parapet, Juliet balconies and decorative panels. Inside, murals of romantic Mediterranean scenery and wrought iron trellises and lamps created the atmosphere of an exotic walled garden at twilight; complete with silver-leaf stars on the high ceiling.
The project began in 2005 with an upper facade restoration, new roof and HVAC replacement. In 2011 the building underwent a complete interior renovation and restoration of the street-level historic facade. Today, the facility reclaims its position as the primary entertainment venue on Columbia Street; functioning as an events centre and home of the longstanding Lafflines Comedy Club.