Before it was Vernon's Towne Theatre, facility was The National Ballroom

Theatre had mezzanines

Did you know there used to be mezzanines in what is now the Towne Theatre?

Back when Vernon's historic theatre was The National Ballroom, it had mezzanines running the length of the ballroom.

The mezzanines were boarded over when the ballroom was renovated to a cinema in 1938.

“It appears that at some point, the one mezzanine area used to be a religious coffee house called 'The Ark,' and by the date on the materials found up there it would have been operational in the 1970s,” said a post on the Towne Theatre's Facebook page.

“The door that leads to the old mezzanine states it's a prayer room and there is a bible verse in the small entry way. It's not as grand as it once was, but nevertheless a cool space to discover.”

The theatre is hoping some local history buffs – or longtime residents – can help fill in some of the blanks of the theatres history.

“We would love to hear your stories about 'The Ark' if you have any,” the post said.

The history of the downtown theatre dates back to 1929 when it was a ballroom and the social hub of the growing North Okanagan community.

The venue struggled for many years and in 2020 the Okanagan Screen Arts Society (OSAS) took over operation of the facility.

Since then, the non-profit has upgraded the lobby, added a stage and brought in numerous live acts as well as movies.

The Towne also hosts a variety of social events.

It was also named the top Independent Theatre in Canada.

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