The Clova Theatre is currently undergoing a renovation to restore its exterior facade. (Sam Anderson)

Clova Theatre gets a facelift

Iconic Cloverdale landmark undergoing exterior restoration work

The Clova Theatre, one of Cloverdale’s most iconic landmarks, is getting a facelift.

The restoration and renovation has been in progress since 2015, shortly after Crossridge Church purchased the building.

So far, the interior has undergone a complete renovation: the lobby has been expanded, washrooms were added and expanded, new seating was installed, the sound and digital projection systems were updated and the stage was reconfigured for events, presentations and productions.

Now the restoration work on the exterior has begun.

The Clova Theatre, located at 5732 176 Street, was constructed in the mid-1940s, immediately following the Second World War. It’s recognized as one of Surrey’s only surviving examples of the Streamline Moderne style, a variation of Art Deco architecture that emphasizes streamlined, aerodynamic curves, and it is a registered heritage site.

The cinema operated as a single screen movie theatre for 67 years before it closed in 2014, after dwindling sales and the heavy cost of upkeep and needed upgrades forced its doors to close. Crossridge Church, which had been renting the space for Sunday morning services, purchased the building and began the process of renovations.

Lead Pastor Lee Francois said that restoring the exterior of the theatre to its original appearance was part of the agreement Crossridge Church made with the City of Surrey when they took on the care of the building.

First, they tackled much-needed structural repairs. The roof was fixed, as was the front canopy of the theatre, and water damage in the auditorium was addressed.

Now that structural repair and interior upgrades have been completed, the focus has shifted to returning the exterior of the building to its former glory.

“We know that this building is a fixture [of the community],” said Francois. “We’re happy to restore it … we’re happy to contribute to the restoration and rejuvenation of Cloverdale.”

The Clova’s restoration, according to the plan proposed by Donald Luxton and Associates Inc., will reflect the character-defining design elements of the original building. The plan sets out to restore many of the original components, including the iconic stucco-clad façade, the truss roof construction, a vertical ‘Clova’ neon sign and the projecting front marquee.

It will even be repainted to match the original colour—a “cream colour,” according to Francois.

The restoration will take approximately six weeks, with a tentative completion date set for the beginning of September.

 

A rendering of the Clova’s new exterior, currently under construction. (Donald Luxton and Associates Inc.)

The Clova Theatre in winter, March 1951. (City of Surrey Archives SM.116B)