This week in Canadian History – January Week 2

Laurier Palace Theatre, Ste Catherine Street East
Laurier Palace Theatre, Ste Catherine Street East (Photo credit: douaireg)

This is a repost of last year, but the story remains interesting.  I hope you agree.

On Sunday, January 9, 1927, the Laurier Place fire, also known as Laurier Place Theatre Crush, there was a fire at a movie theatre in Montreal, Quebec.

It is believed that the cause of the fire was a discarded cigarette, burning between floorboards, that was from an earlier comedy show Get ‘me young!

800 children attended the movie, and panic ensued when the smoke started.

All the children were up on the balcony. They had difficulty getting to safety because one of the emergency exit door was locked.

Even though Firefighter Station number 13 is just across the street and went to work at the theatre, it wasn’t fast enough: 78 children died. Of them, 12 were crushed, 64 asphyxiated, and 2 actually died from the fire itself.

To read more, you could read my entry on BiteSizeCanada website. You a an also read the original newspaper article from the Gazette.


  1. This incident affected lives long afterward. After the fire, the authorities decided to ban children from movies. (Easier than creating/enforcing better fire safety codes?) As a child growing up in Montreal, I could only go to the movies at special, I think twice-yearly, times — memory says Christmas and Easter holidays but I may be wrong. Children’s movies were shown, and kids crowded the theatres. My mother later said it was a very efficient way to ‘schedule’ when we all became infected with the usual childhood diseases such as measles and chicken pox — you could be sure that, after sitting in a jammed theatre with hordes of other kids, your child would pick up something. “I always knew when to be on the alert,” she said.


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