There is no shortage of summer walking tours in Vancouver but there is a really special one that shouldn’t be missed: a behind-the-scenes tour of the historic Orpheum. The “Grand Old Lady of Granville Street” celebrates its 85th anniversary this year and the 90-minute tour by the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame is a treat for history buffs, architecture nerds and anyone who has ever marvelled at the building while seated in the audience at an Orpheum concert or film screening.
The tour begins with an overview of the Orpheum’s history and “mishmash” architecture. It’s rare to have an opportunity to see a space like the Orpheum in a small group and it’s a delight to notice details and fixtures that might be missed when the building is jam-packed.
One of the first major stops on the tour is inside the concert hall, where you’ll have a terrific view of the Orpheum’s beautiful dome.
The tour covers the Orpheum from head to toe. After entering the concert hall, you’ll climb up to the projection room and then higher until you’re finally above the dome. I won’t give away how the dome is constructed since it’s a highlight to see this for yourself. After reaching the highest point inside the building, you’ll make your way into the bowels of the Orpheum, all the way down to under the stage. If there is no event set-up taking place on the day of your tour, you may even have an opportunity to walk on the stage.
The tour wraps up at the Star Walk Photo Gallery, where you’ll spot some familiar faces of British Columbians who have made an outstanding contribution to entertainment.
Orpheum tours run Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. until August 30. The cost is a $10 donation (cash only) that supports the BC Entertainment Hall of Fame. Tour reservations can be made by calling 604.655.3470.