Each spring the curatorial staff and volunteers work on a new gallery exhibit. This year I picked one off my wish list. The Salmar, our very own community theatre, turned 70 in May. It was time to celebrate with its Board and staff. How many of us will be around for the Salmar’s 100th anniversary?


I ordered posters, one from each decade of operation. The Salmar board offered artefacts that are pre-digital. It agreed to hire a local moving company to deliver the 1977 projector. I loaded my Honda Civic a few times with stanchions, poster frames, and popcorn containers.


The staff at the Salmar were great to work with. Daila Duford, Esther Neustaeter, and Camille Aura lent me the things I needed to fill the space in the gallery. Kerry Orchard, a museum volunteer, put together a row of seats, modifying them so they would work. The gallery floor isn’t raked and each chair support was different. Nancy Tait painted the bifold stands I needed to break up the room. Ted McTaggart patiently helped with hanging the posters - no easy task with a 12’ ceiling.

I searched the archives collection for photographs. Denis Marshall had donated his collection in 2010. Volunteer Lise Ouimet had assigned key-terms to the images and input names. When I had my list, she generated reports on the photographs I wanted to use.

Tove Jensen emailed and offered her private collection of images. She started working at the Salmar in 1957. She had a photo of herself behind the counter selling popcorn for 10 cents!

Volunteer Gloria Christian started reading the Salmon Arm Observer on microfilm.

Salmar Board Member Gary Brooke set up dates with Georgia McLeod and answered my questions. When I offered him a job title, Gary graciously declined.

My community was coming together to tell a local success story. 70 years of popcorn. The proceeds from Canada’s oldest, non-profit theatre have stayed in our community, first constructing the Memorial Arena, helping many community causes - a bus for Pioneer Lodge, the spray park at Fletcher Park, a new building for Branch 62 of the Royal Canadian Legion, the Montebello project at R.J. Haney Heritage Village, and thousands each year in scholarships.

All the while, the Salmar has offered first-run movies at a fraction the major chains charge.

What an amazing history and organization. I join my volunteers in saying we are so proud of the Salmar. It is a home-grown success story, a model for several others in the province, and, as their motto stencilled in the organization’s boardroom says: “In Business for the Community.”

Congratulations Salmar! It is an honour to tell your story and, please, pass the popcorn!


Looking for a healthy serving of popcorn and entertainment? Find out what's currently playing at the
Salmar here.