Originally built in 1909 as a MasonicTemple, the building was designed by Thomas Daltry Sedger (1860-1941), an English architect who lived inEsquimalt, B.C. for 49 years.
By 1973, the local Masons could no longer afford to heat the building and offered t for sale. Because the only prospective purchaser wanted to demolish it to provide a parking lot, the Cranbrook Community Theatre lobbied the City ofCranbrookto get involved and purchase the building. This movement was spearheaded by Bud Abbott and Cornel Sawchuck.
The City then turned the building over to the Community Theatre group who has since acted as stewards of the building. The building has been segregated into two distinct areas. The main floor is known as “The Studio” and is used by a number of local groups for dance, yoga, and martial arts classes; the upper floor, known as “The Stage Door” has an 83 seat auditorium. This space is used for Cranbrook Community Theatre and other dramatic productions. This space is also used for musical presentations and the space is so intimate and the acoustics so good, that it is a favorite venue for traveling artists.
By actively preserving and renovating the interior and exterior, CCT was able to have the site deemed a heritage building in 1989.
In almost 40 years of stewardship, the building has seen thousands of dance students and hundreds of theatrical and musical events. In this time, CCT has spent close to $400, 000 in upkeep and renovations of the building.
CCT is very thankful that the City of Cranbrook had the foresight to rescue the building and we are very proud of our efforts to maintain such a handsome heritage building for the entire city and East Kootenay region to use and enjoy.