1.290 Royal Theatre

The Royal Theatre opened in December 1913 as the Royal Victoria Theatre. By the early 1930s, the theatre was controlled by Famous Players Canada Corp. After major renovations in 1946, the theatre was re-named the Royal Theatre. Famous Players tried unsuccessfully to sell the theatre in 1958. When put up for sale in 1973, the CRD and three municipalities purchased the theatre.

The Royal Theatre:

  • is a civic theatre available for rent by performing arts groups and other organizations;
  • is home for numerous performing arts groups; and
  • provides box office services in the region in conjunction with the McPherson Playhouse.


In 1973, Famous Players put the Royal Theatre up for sale. The City of Victoria looked for partners and in August 1973, the mayor of Victoria suggested that the CRD accept the Royal Theatre and Centennial Stadium on a regional cost sharing basis. In November 1973 the Board adopted a resolution to assume ownership of the theatre, cost shared by Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay, subject to those municipalities agreeing to a cost sharing formula. A month later, the Board passed a motion that, after resolutions were received from all three municipalities, the draft Royal Theatre Supplementary Letters Patent (SLP) be approved and submitted to the Lieutenant–Governor in Council for approval. On 15 February 1974, SLPs were issued giving the CRD approval to purchase the Royal Theatre, to maintain, equip and operate, and to sell it. A Royal Theatre Committee was established to administer the service. Subsequently, in 1982 the decision was made to sell the Royal Theatre to the member municipalities of Victoria, Oak Bay and Saanich, and in 1983 the sale was consummated.

In 1998, the three municipalities of Victoria, Saanich and Oak Bay asked the CRD board to reassume ownership and operations of the Royal Theatre. On 25 March 1998, the CRD Board adopted Bylaw No 2587 "Royal Theatre Local Service Area Establishment Bylaw No 1, 1998" which converted the Royal Theatre to a local service for pleasure, recreation and community use. The service continues to be authorized under Bylaw No 2587.


CRD Bylaw No. 2587 provides for the CRD to establish a committee for the purpose of managing the administration and operation of the Royal Theatre. CRD Bylaw No. 2647 "The Royal and McPherson Theatres Agreement Bylaw 1998" sets out the requirements for the Royal and McPherson Theatres Society ("RMTS") to operate and maintain the Royal Theatre including complete operating and management duties, long range planning, annual budget preparation, endeavouring to obtain capital grant funding, and acquiring relevant insurance policies as outlined. The CRD Finance & Technology Department collaborates with the RMTS and is responsible for reporting to the CRD Board.


The budget for this service (building capital and operating) is established through an annual CRD Financial Planning process and is funded by an annual property value tax levied within the municipalities of Oak Bay, Saanich and Victoria. For financial information on the rental revenue and expenditures of the contracted manager/operator of the theatre please visit the Royal & McPherson Theatres Society.

Additional Information