Centre Cinéma Impérial
Original Debut: Home to a fading vaudeville scene when it opened in 1913, the Imperial became a movie house in 1934 when it was leased to Léo-Ernest Ouimet (owner of the Ouimetoscope, the first movie theater in Canada). The interior was known for its “Greek tragedy” theme, with white marble columns and frescoes of canoodling nymphs and satyrs.
Now Showing: For the past 19 years, the Centre Cinéma Impérial has hosted the annual Montreal World Film Festival, where movies from more than 70 countries are shown every summer (Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy and Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs both premiered here; more recently, so did the 2009 Oscar-winning foreign film Departures). The building’s original bones are still intact, but the interiors have been restructured: now the theater has 819 plush red armchairs imported from Europe and top-notch technical equipment including a 12,800-watt, 7-channel sound system (with 60 speakers) and LED sound pickups.