Marquee of the Garry Theatre shown lit up for Christmas in pink.

Where the Garry is at Now

The city retained Urban Systems to engage the community to determine potential future uses for the building and we would like to thank those who participated in the engagement opportunities in November of 2022. The feedback received guided the preliminary Business Plan for the Garry Theatre, which the city then looked for feedback on in August of 2023. 

The financial analysis suggested that the Theatre will require long-term financial support from the City or other funding bodies.
In order to reopen the Garry Theatre as soon as possible, and transition the Theatre into a community-led programming space, the following actions need to be taken by the City of Selkirk:

1.    Apply for matching funding for capital renovations.
2.    Establish a committee of volunteers to incorporate the non-profit organization.
3.    Provide the non-profit organization with a long-term lease for $1.00 per year.
4.    Develop an operating grant or secondment position for the General Manager.
5.    Commit to hosting as many community events at the Theatre as possible.

If these recommendations are not adopted, the Garry Theatre will not be able to re-open and remain open.

View the results of both surveys below

Further Information

History of the Garry Theatre

Read the history of the Garry Theatre on the Selkirk Museum!

What happened to the Garry?

Landmark Cinemas decided to permanently close the Garry Theatre in downtown Selkirk – along with three other single-screen theatres in Manitoba – knowing how important the theatre was to so many that had grown up watching movies in the Manitoba Ave. mainstay, the city decided to purchase it!

Selkirk’s Long-Term Plans for the Garry

The City purchased the Garry to ensure that the future of the theatre aligned with the community’s vision.


In 2014, the City of Selkirk completed its Community Strategic Plan, which includes five key strategic priorities. The Plan calls for the creation of a vibrant, safe, and healthy community where residents have access to the best possible recreational opportunities, a revitalized downtown and are engaged in shaping the city’s future. Two years later, in 2016, the City finalized its Downtown Selkirk Renewal Strategy. The strategy aims to create a vibrant, safe and attractive downtown where people can live, work, shop and play. As part of this, the strategy emphasized the importance of capitalizing on the City’s historical buildings and revitalizing Manitoba Avenue East which started in 2018.


Based on these plans, the City has made major investments in improving the public realm along Manitoba Avenue East. Between 2019 and 2020, the City reconstructed the street to make it more pedestrian and cyclist friendly. Changes included enhancing active transportation facilities and lighting, bringing the road up to modern standards for accessibility, adding street trees, benches and planters.  Other improvements included developing two pocket parks with public seating, art, a public ping pong table, community healing garden, converting one-way traffic to two-way traffic, and changing angled parking to parallel parking. The reinvention of the Garry as a community-led space will build on this important work and help in the revitalization of Selkirk’s  downtown.

Community Theatres across Canada

As part of the development of the business plan, the City along with Urban Systems is exploring case studies of other community theatres across the country for inspiration.

These include small, community-run theatres in small cities and towns like the Country Fest Community Cinema in Dauphin, the Strand Theatre in Melita, and the Boissevain-Morton Community Theatre in Boissevain. The case studies also include community-run and private theatres in larger cities like the Gas Station and Park Theatres in Winnipeg, the Westdale Theatre in Hamilton, the Gladstone Theatre in Ottawa, the Theatre Centre in Toronto, the Varscona Theatre in Edmonton, and the Rio Theatre in Vancouver.


Many of these theatres host a range of events and performances. These include classic movies, live theatre and music, dance performances, and live-streamed events like sports games and opera shows. Some examples, like the Park Theatre in Winnipeg and Bus Stop Theatre in Halifax are ‘black box’ theatres with adjustable furniture. This furniture allows the theatres to be reconfigured to host various private events like meetings, workshops, classes, art exhibits, and even socials and weddings! Some theatres are also supported by licensed bars and coffee shops. 

with this research, the draft business plan was created. 

Community Engagement a Must

The City is looking for input from the citizens of Selkirk and surrounding communities about what the future of the Garry Theatre could look like and if they would be willing to support what the business plan suggests is necessary for the Garry to re-open and remain open. 

People were encouraged to share their visions and ideas through a survey and by attending open houses in November of 2022. 

We took the results of that survey along with extensive research and the help or Urban Systems and the draft business plan was born. 

the second round of engagement is available August 22 through September 11 for us to understand the willingness of the community to support the theatre based on what the draft business plan suggests is necessary for the theatre to re-open and remain open.