Nanco Group’s Norman Nahas has history on the block, too. His family’s other business, King of Donair has been a next-door neighbour to the theatre since 1973.
“I’d love to find another tenant who’ll be there for 80 years like The Oxford was. It’s a movie theatre, but it’s so much more than that—it’s a part of the community, it’s a gathering place and an iconic corner,” he says. “We want to try to have all of that in the next chapter, whoever ends up in that spot we definitely want to respect the heritage and respect the building and the history.”
Nahas admits it’s a bit premature to speak to exactly will happen to the building going forward, and he wouldn’t confirm whether or not it will be redeveloped altogether. He did, however, say it will be a mixed-use space, likely retail and residential.
“The building has undergone three facade alterations over the years, so we kind of have to peel back the layers and see what things look like and looked like, and determine the structural integrity,” he says.
The single-screen theatre has been operating since 1937, offering limited releases and throwback movies to Haligonians in recent years. It’s a time capsule in building form, complete with stadium seating and a balcony. No doubt it’s going to be a difficult farewell for many locals.
“Whatever the final project will look like we want to maintain as much history as we can, we’d even consider naming whatever it will be The Oxford,” adds Nahas. “I went to school around the corner at Tupper and lived around the corner, and my grandmother told me stories about going to that theatre. It’s definitely an institution now.”
Don’t cry yet. The silver (screen?) lining is that The Oxford will be offering a stellar final week of films, from a Marilyn Monroe classic to a recent Wes Anderson gem. All proceeds from these screenings will go to the IWK. Check out all the dates and titles below
Sunday, September 10
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
Gone with the Wind (1939)
Monday, September 11
Rear Window (1954)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Tuesday, September 12
City Lights (1931)
The Graduate (1967)
Wednesday, September 13
Singin' in the Rain (1952)