Skip to content

Scandal and a spy on Collingwood’s main street

Remember This? Before a fire destroyed the building this is where Collingwood residents and visitors could see a Vaudeville show.
Huron Institute No. 62, Collingwood Museum Collection X970.455.1

The present-day location of Loblaw Great Food, on the south-west corner of Hurontario and First Streets, was once home to one of Collingwood’s early theatres. The Lyric Theatre was located in a beautiful three-storey brick building that was originally constructed to house Henderson’s Hardware following the Great Fire of 1881. In these early years, the term “block” was used to describe a single building. Hence, the Lyric Theatre was located in the Henderson Block.

The Lyric Theatre featured vaudevillian acts, moving pictures, dancers, and much more during its 16-year operation between 1909 and 1925. On Sunday, Nov. 12, 1925, a devastating fire struck the building. The fire is recorded to have started on the second floor in A. J. Brown’s knitting mill. The fire took hours to extinguish and resulted in the complete destruction of the building’s interior and the partial-collapse of the building’s exterior walls.

Captured in this postcard from the winter of 1913-14, two posters are visible along the Lyric’s storefront for Boomerang, an American silent film released on November 14, 1913. An unidentified man poses in front of the largest sign. The film’s plot involved the United States War Minister, missing airplane drawings, a spy, love, and a kidnapping.

The right side of the postcard photograph captures the white, two-storey building that housed Henry Poehlman’s Fruit Warehouse as well as the three-storey brick building constructed as a cold storage and warehouse for T. Long & Bros. These buildings would later house Smart Bros. Limited and National Grocers Co. Limited respectively.

Remember This is a weekly series of historic photographs submitted by the Collingwood Museum to These photographs were originally collected and documented by the Huron Institute in an historical catalogue entitled Huron Institute Paper and Records: Volume III. Much of Collingwood’s early history has been preserved due to the dedication and foresight of the early museum’s founders, namely its secretary-curator David Williams, upon its establishment in 1904.