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Profile Last Updated: May 27, 2008
Ask any Vancouverite to name one of the city's favourite cultural landmarks and you're sure to hear about the Commodore Ballroom. For over 75 years, the majestic Art Deco venue has been synonymous with Vancouver's entertainment and nighttime scenes. The original Commodore Cabaret opened its doors in 1929. Built by George Conrad Reifel and designed by Vancouver architect H.H. Gillingham, the elegant-styled venue was envisioned as an alternative to the increasingly crowded ballroom at Hotel Vancouver.
Past Class Acts
The Commodore welcomed the biggest names in show business, including The Dorsey Brothers, Count Basie, George Burns, Rudy Vallee and Cab Calloway. A succession of house bands were also hired for exclusive long-term engagements: Dal Richards, Bob Flynn, Walter Daurey were among the bandleaders who soon became legendary figures on Vancouver's entertainment front. Today, the Commodore lives on with the classic elegance of a grand 'ole ballroom refitted for a new millennium of music acts.
A venerable establishment on Granville Street, the Commodore underwent major renovation in 1998 and has re-emerged as the premiere live music venue in the city. The House of Blues entertainment group is the new promoters, bringing in everyone from Matthew Good Band to Feist. Though the hardwood dance floor has been completely replaced, it still maintains its famed springiness under the weight of hordes of dancers. Elegance permeates the 1000-person capacity room: glittering brass chandeliers, burnished mahogany staircase railings, and luxuriant plum-colored carpeting. While retaining the dignified air of its days in the Big Band era, the Commodore is still hip enough to accommodate the sound and fury of modern-day reveling as it remains a cherished cultural spot and community locale for Vancouverites and visiting bands: a place to connect with friends and colleagues, dance the night away and hear some of the best music the world has to offer.