Rialto Theatre in Montreal – A National Historic Site & Event Venue

rialto theatre
Credit Jeangagnon

Driving along Park Avenue (Avenue du Parc) in the Plateau-Mont-Royal borough is famous Rialto Theatre in Montreal.

The beautifully designed Rialto Theatre was once a theatre, a movie palace that operated as a cinema, and then a repertory cinema, right through to the 1990s.

Construction of the Rialto Theatre began in 1923 and was completed in 1924. The designer — Montreal architect Joseph-Raoul GariĆ©py, inspired by the Palais Garnier, the Paris Opera House.

The interior of the Rialto is a pleasant surprise in contrast to its modest exterior bearing an old theatre marquee. The ornate architectural details inside the neo-baroque style cinema, designed by Emmanuel Briffa, are just awe-inspiring.

Photo credit: Pierre5018 The ornate painted ceilings of the Rialto Theatre

This rare architectural jewel features:

  • A steep-pitch balcony
  • Theatre boxes
  • 1370 seats
  • A Tiffany stained-glass dome
  • Marble staircases
  • Painted ceilings
  • Gilded moldings

At one time, its owners removed all of the movie palace’s seats so as to give it a new life once its cinematic role ended.

The theater was transformed several times, including into a bar, dance club, and a steakhouse before finding its new role under Le Groupe Merveilles Inc. as an event venue.

Its newer owners Ezio Carosielli and Luisa Sassano restored its unique architecture and continue to protect this National Historic Site of Canada (designated in 1993). It also had been classified a heritage property in 1988 by the city of Montreal, and then as a historical monument in 1990 by the province of Quebec.

So, What Goes on at the Rialto Theatre Now?

The main auditorium is a popular venue for live entertainment and shows. But, there are also different halls for private and corporate events. So, it’s a great venue, whatever the occasion.

Have your wedding reception there, or launch the next must-have product! Its cabaret-style seating will make your occasion that much more memorable.

The Rialto Theatre in Montreal is also an excellent venue for fundraisers and galas.