On a return engagement from our 2004 Top Ten list, Malkin Bowl remains in serious danger as TUTS (Theatre under the Stars) organizers continue to raise funds for its demolition and replacement.
‘Marion Malkin Memorial Bowl’ was built in 1934 with funds donated by William Harold Malkin, grocery wholesaler, former Mayor, and Park Board Commissioner, in memory of his wife. Originally designed as a band shell, the venue has been used for most of its history for the summer TUTS musicals. Its designer was Allen Shakespeare Wooten, Chief Engineer to the Board of Parks Commissioners.
The building, known for its crescent-shaped proscenium arch, is a delightful example of the Moderne style and a beloved city landmark. The Park Board considers Malkin Bowl a liability — its isolated location and wooden construction make it vulnerable to squatters, vandalism and arson.
If TUTS and the Park Board have their way, Malkin Bowl will be demolished. It will be replaced by a high-tech, telescoping, slab-mounted structure designed by Busby and Associates, architects of One Wall Centre. TUTS is only too happy to replace the existing landmark with a state-of-the-art facility that will provide more space for drop scenery and backstage activities.
Neither the Park Board nor TUTS has given serious consideration either to upgrading the existing facility for continued TUTS use or, alternatively, to restoring the Bowl as a musical performance venue, while locating the proposed new TUTS structure elsewhere.
Update April 14, 2006: The Bowl has been listed in the Park Board 2006-08 Capital Plan for replacement. As there is a ‘zero’ dollar figure attached, this would appear to mean that all funds for replacement must be raised by Theatre Under the Stars. Heritage Vancouver will approach TUTS and the Park Board to consider alternatives for rehabilitation.
Vancouver Park Music Bowl
Mr. Wooton furnishes some details regarding the design and construction of a modern music bowl which, in response to a widely-expressed desire for open-air performances by the Vancouver Symphony among the cedars of Stanley Park, has been erected in place of a standard type bandstand. The first bowl of this type, he mentions, was erected at Hollywood after much experimentation, and the Vancouver bowl embodies the principles therein incorporated, and was the first of its type to be constructed in Canada and the Pacific North-west. In general design the shape of the bowl is one half of a truncated cone.
The Surveyor and Municipal County Engineer, January 31, 1936, page 176.