The Armond Town Hall
This restored movie theatre is a central, civic, all-season meeting place which welcomes residents, tourists, young and old. This repurposed Cranbrook Town Hall provides the perpetual spirit in Spirit Square year round and all weathers.
The four unique spaces contained within the Armond building provide a hub and a healthy pulse to the downtown core, linking City Hall with the public in a way that has not been possible before. Through public events, the nurturing of our creative youth, a mass of local information, where to go, what to see, who is here, when things are happening and how to access them, this one stop shop for ‘what is happening,’ in the heart of the city brings a new, consistent and consolidated energy and vibrancy to Cranbrook’s center.
The cultural, clearing house, situated in the lobby/store front has the ability to tie the community together linking the Chamber of Commerce booths at either end of the ‘strip’ to the city core. It enables tourists to have a reason to leave the highway, either on bicycle, by foot or by vehicle. Bicycle rentals can be deposited or collected here and returned to any of the other participating locations. By having a central agency for the registration of all events, courses and classes offered by private individuals, groups, the City and the College of the Rockies, it is easy for residents and visitors alike to find the information which will satisfy their interests.
The unique Town Hall with its lofty ceiling provides a space with an ambience unlike any other in the city – a replacement, albeit aesthetically different, for the much-loved Bluebird, which the city lost in a fire. As our Town Hall, it has the ability to provide a larger and alternative space for well attended Council Meetings or Open Houses. For our blossoming small and home businesses, it provides an affordable and occasional marketing space downtown. Exhibitions and displays can be set up for several days at a time. Farmer’s Markets have an available space for rent in the shoulder and winter seasons. A small commercial kitchen enables self-catering, (occasional license only), to community events where entertainment, eating and dancing are combined. The high ceiling offers acoustics and atmosphere providing an ambience unlike any other, where food and beverages are permitted and there is dance floor. The relaxed and flexible nature of the space provides an opportunity for informal and formal gatherings alike and for all demographics in our community.
The provision of a permanent home for the Youth Arts Centre at the mezzanine level enables this building to have not only constant activity downstairs but a regular rental income and energy upstairs that this age group can provide. The separate entrances and exits give this rental space the luxury of independent comings and goings without having to use the storefront public space. Plenty of washrooms are available on the lower level.
The convenience of the Arts Council in the Fire Hall will make joint projects in all these spaces easy to coordinate with added bonus of extra temporary display, demonstration, performance or exhibition space close at hand. When museum exhibitions are held in the Cranbrook Museum and Exhibition Galleries Canadian Museum of Rail Travel, it is possible to coordinate more hands-on displays, workshops or relevant entertainment in this less formal space.
Last but not least, the roof of this, one of the tallest buildings in the downtown, provides a fabulous opportunity to view Cranbrook from the piazza like setting around a large glass skylight which floods light into the interior space. The view, through the roof top trees is not available from any other downtown location. Through the use of industrial reservoir planters, small trees line the inside of the clear safety railing and surround the roof. Access to this space is via a spiral staircase located in the The Youth Arts Centre. The use of vegetation in contained planters, assist with climate control for the building. This showcase roof project puts Cranbrook on the map for innovation and recognition of its Rocky Mountain Trench location.
Plenty of parking is close by, beside Rotary Park on Tenth Avenue and behind the Credit Union on Baker St.
An Opera House/Auditorium preceded the Armond Theatre on the very same site and two movie theatres, The Star and then The Armond have existed on this block of Tenth Avenue in the time Cranbrook has existed.
By seizing this opportunity for the continuity of our history, Cranbrook has recognized the necessity for its heritage preservation. There is much love in the city for this solid old building. It holds memories and marks part of Cranbrook’s history. Community use with a look into the future makes it special once again.