Estevan, Saskatchewan, Canada

The Delight Theatre

NE Corner of 5th and 12th Ave

The First Theatre In Estevan
Opened around 1910, built and operated by Lin Lundquist, later operated by **Miss Ruby Gleiser**, and others.

Miss Ruby Gleiser

She was the First Woman in Saskatchewan, to have a licence to operate a movie picture projector.

Theatre was Owned by the Kinna Family at one time.

The Theatre was sold and used as Estevan's First Hospital, the Creighton Hospital, until it partially burnt down in 1936.

Clarendon Hotel was Next Door, to the east, and suffered heavy damage, when the Theatre burnt down.

Aug 2009, view where the old hospital stood, today Parkway Service


Victor Bernard “Bern” Turner
b- Apr 4, 1895 at Dunkirk Hill, Kent, England,
d- Sept 2, 1979 in Weyburn SK.
buried in Estevan City Cemetery
Bern was a Vimy Ridge Veteran.
Came to Canada in 1907 with his mother.
His father William Horace Turner, immigrated in 1905. He helped his father as caretaker of the old Central School.
Married Helen Madigan of Macoun.
Resided in Swift Current where he was the Theatre Projectionist.
In 1921 they returned to Estevan, He was the projectionist at the Delight Theatre first, then the Orpheum, until he retired in 1965.
During this time he operated Turner Electric Shop.

Enlisted in WWI May 24, 1916 in Estevan, Single, Church of England, 5ft, 11 in tall, Moving Picture Operator, Reg # 925847

His father and mother were neighbours of the Gus Gesell family on Valley St.
Father- William Horace Turner
b- 1869 Canterbury England
d- Nov 27, 1945 in Vancouver BC, age 72
Immigrated in 1905
Mother- Mary Anne Cairns
b- 1872 in England
d- 1953
married Apr-June 1893 in Canterbury reg dist

Orpheum Theatre on extreme left

The 2nd Theatre in Estevan

1939 view

Recitals held in the Theatre- Dr Brown in 1942

Aug 2009 side view

Orpheum Theatre under construction, H.E. McKenzie Office beside it.
From Board of Trade 1914 Booklet,

The Theatre was opened Apr 6, 1914.

Located at 1235 4th St.
Orpheum was built in 1913-14, by Mr. (Harry) Henry Emerson McKenzie, also known as Mac.

b- Feb 1880 in Ontario Canada in 1911 census.
d- Nov 4,1917 in Rochester, Minnesota. (Lake Minnetonka)
Buried there, in Groveland Cemetery
Section 1, Lot 17, grave 4.
His grave says born in 1877.
so obviously the 1911 date is wrong.
He was a member of the Masons.
Shown as a contractor in 1911 census.

The Theatre was owned by himself, and his partner, Frederick (Fred) William Newcombe,

b- Jan 1879 in Maine USA, who came to Canada in 1910.
Shown as a brick man in 1911 census.
Fred became Mayor of Estevan 1919-1920

Dec 8, 1913
The foundation was being installed.
It was built for moving pictures, Vaudeville, Operas, etc.
Seating accommodation= 100
It was built from solid Brick, reason it's still there.

One of the first operators, could have been Mr. Herbert Edwin Brennen.
His family history says he was there from 1912-1919.
The dates might be a bit off, but he no doubt was there.

First Operator from the beginning was a Mr. Carl Johnson, who became Active Manager in 1918, and one of the owners was still Mr. F. W. Newcombe

In 1917 the theatre was used on Sundays for the Presbyterian Church service.

I remember as a kid going to the special Saturday Christmas Matinee.
We would get a visit from Santa, and a goody bag.
In the bag a real treat for me, was the Japanese orange.
The Estevan Elks sponsored this event.

Neon clock on the wall.
Look at Facebook today, and the favourite building, with the younger generation, next to the Court House, is the old Orpheum Theatre.

Harry (Mac) McKenzie's widow,
Jennie June McKenzie (nee Mill),
b- July 6, 1889- d- July 23, 1980
operated the theatre for many years, following the wishes of her husband, from his death bed.
She is buried in the Estevan City Cemetery.

Leo Maher was another owner, exact dates unknown.

John A. (Jack) McKenzie
b- ca 1886 in Saskatchewan
d- Tuesday, Nov 12, 1940, age 54, in Winnipeg MB
Funeral held at Whitewood SK United Church
and he was buried in family plot, at Whitewood.
He owned the Orpheum Theatre, from 1924 to his death in 1940.
He entered the theatre business in Weyburn, in 1910, and sold out in 1921.
He went into business for a short time in Vancouver BC.
First time a “Talking Picture” was shown at the Orpheum Theatre, was in the Fall of 1929, with Chester Morris starring in “ALIBI”,

Jack McKenzie was the Manager, with Victor Bernard “Bern” Turner, and Philip Peters, the Projectionists.

Early in 1929 he installed sound equipment, making it the 4th Theatre in SK., and 52nd in Canada to have that equipment.

In 1930 the Orpheum was the First Theatre in the Dominion to receive the Bronze Plaque, for Sound Production
awarded by the trade magazine. sent to Theatre Owners only, “Exhibitor's Herald World”, of New York.

Jack Mcknezie had 2 sisters,
Mrs. Effie Shantz, and Mrs. James Reeves, of Winnipeg, MB
and a brother, Donald Mckenzie, in Kisbey, SK.
He also had an older brother William McKenzie, who died before him.
a Nephew Clifford McKenzie from Minneapolis, attended his funeral.

After his father died, the Orpheum was owned by ECI Alumni, and Jack's son,
John “Duane” McKenzie, ca 1940-1961
b- Aug 6, 1912 in Weyburn SK
He died Monday afternoon, Oct 23, 1961 from a fatal heart attack, while on a hunting trip with his son,
He died at the young age of 49.
With him was J. A. Hart, manager of Quality Beverages Ltd., in Estevan, which was also owned by Mr. McKenzie.
Duane was a Past President of the Souris-Estevan Liberal Association.
He received his public education in the States, Vancouver and Estevan, before attending University of Manitoba, where he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering.
From 1936-1939 he was employed by the Dominion Electric Power Co. in Estevan.
Later Sales Engineer for the D. M. Fraser Co. Ltd. of Toronto. He bought the Orpheum theatre in 1940.
He started Quality Beverages in 1958, Located corner of 6th St and 14th Ave., 50 x 96 ft. building. Now the Work-Kin recycling shop.
It cost $90,000 to build. Employed 8 people. Handled 3 franchises. Capacity was 80 cases of soft drinks per hour.
It consumed 1,000 gallons of city water/hour.
Member of the Public and Collegiate Boards from 1945-1955.
Chairman of St. Joseph's Hospital Advisory Board until his death.
He donated his engineering time to many community projects at no cost.
The arena and curling rink installation of Ice were 2 of his projects.
Past President of the SK Motion Picture Exhibitors Association.
Member of the Motion Picture Industry Council of Canada.
Wife- Mary Louise, son Robert, and daughter Mary.
he was survived by his Mother- Lydia McKenzie
b- Apr 1890 in USA, immigrated to Canada in 1905.
Swedish ancestry.
Duane had a brother- Dr. Francis McKenzie, of Colburn MB
Funeral service Friday Oct 27, 1961 in Estevan
Dr. Francis McKenzie served at St Joseph's Hospital in Estevan ca 1941-42.

Other owners after Mr. McKenzie, the Frank Muss family ca 1962-1990,
Mr Frank Muss was from Weyburn area as well.
He started out as a grain buyer at Cedoux.
In 1947 he started his training as a Projectionist at Weyburn. 2 years later he purchased the Theatre in Arcola, which he operated until 1962.
when he moved to Estevan to take over the Orpheum.

Next owner- A. King ca 1990-?.
Then Frank's son, Earl Muss- 1996

My Mother during the early 60's, was a janitor at the theatre, and she worked for Mr. Duane McKenzie.

2009- Famous Players theatre, with Dolby sound.

Orpheum Theatre Ad

Souris Valley Theatre

Operating in the summer, since 1990

Located down at the Souris River, on the North side of the river, adjacent to Woodlawn Regional Park.
Originally located in a large tent, to the NW of the Old Estevan Swimming Pool. A new building now houses this troupe.

Known for their live historical plays, First performance- Volstead Blues.

Star-Lite Drive-In Theatre.

(another possible name- Sunset Drive-In?)

opened by Sept 1951, closed ca 1990
Located Just east of the train overpass, Between the train tracks, adjacent, to the West, and Highway 39, (Service Road), adjacent, to the north, on the East end of the city.
Sitting in your cars you faced west. That way the setting sun would not shine on the screen.
Show time was at Dusk.
2 speakers on on one metal post. One car on each side.
Speakers were on coiled cords, in metal boxes with a hook on the back, which would then hang on the inside of the drivers window.
On the front a volume control. No Stereo or Dolby sound then.

It was built by Dale Abbott, and Glen Giem and was open in Sept 1951, then Dale Abbott ca 1965, and Don Outhwaite ca 1980.

Car capacity from 200-383, depending on what book you read.
A Sept 1951 magazine sent to me by dale abbotts grandson, reported it cost $15,000 to build and held 200 cars.
It was this article that proved it was open in 1951 not 1955 as originally thought.
Being that early it would have been one of the First in Western Canada possibly?

The drive-ins were known for their corny “Go to the snack stand” commercials.

Mosquitos, and driving away with the speaker still on the window, were common occurances.


  • Last modified: 2020/12/17 14:59
  • by dlgent