In 1925 the Kamloops Elks Lodge #44 first envisioned building a new lodge in downtown Kamloops as a permanent home for their members. This vision came about on June 15, 1927, as P.G.E.R. Joe Morris laid the cornerstone for the new lodge at Fourth and Seymour, as a large crowd looked on. The building was designed by E.T. Brown in the Spanish American architectural style which was unique for the area and inspired many other buildings to follow suit. The interior consisted of an auditorium, banquet hall, club quarters, billiard room, lounge and seven residential suites all of which accommodated the needs of the club.
One of the jewels of the building was the impressive auditorium. The auditorium featured the second largest stage in BC with a floating maple dance floor and had seats for 1000 people. The Elks used this space for entertaining at Christmas and other holidays as well as hosting travelling shows, vaudeville acts, concerts, musicals and dances. The Lodge had formed a band and in November of 1947 they played their first concert. Then in 1930, with the rise in popularity of films, the auditorium became the Rex Theatre and featured state of the art equipment and the latest in talking pictures. This venue had truly become a fixture for the community of Kamloops.
As the needs of the Elks Lodge changed the auditorium underwent several changes and in 2009 due to extensive upgrades that were needed the Elks Lodge decided to sell the building and move to another home.
The Rex Today
Today the historic landmark building sports an exterior facelift, preserving the Spanish style architecture, as well as a new name. The current name, ‘The Rex’, was chosen from a chapter of the buildings history as it used to be the name of the theatre that operated within the main auditorium.
Inside, the renovated building continues to serve the community with eight residential suites and many businesses proud to call the Rex home. The newest addition is a 2014 rennovation of the main auditorium which will once again bring music, dance, and performance as well as rental opportunities for corporate and private functions to the communtity of Kamloops.
*Photos courtesy of Kamloops Museum and Archives Photograph Collection #1890, #6679, #7973