The Columbia Theatre on 530 Columbia St. in New Westminster was built in 1927 as a 900-seat movie theatre. Until the mid-1980s, the building housed a cinema, and was the first cinema in Canada with air conditioning. After being closed for many years, the city of New Westminster sold the building to Barry Buckland in 2011, and he took on the task of restoring the theatre. Buckland is an Ottawa native, but came to New Westminster in 1985. Since then he has has operated a number of businesses. His goal is to revitalize the entertainment scene of the city by operating a comedy school, managing the Lafflines Comedy Club that occupies the theatre today, and providing a performance venue for up-and-coming local artists. He predicts that within 20 years, Columbia St. will again be a centre for entertainment in the region.The interview was conducted as part of History 461 – Oral History Practicum at Simon Fraser University
Interview with Barry Buckland
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