The Vancouver Heritage Foundation will be officially presenting Celebrities nightclub as a heritage site for the city, as a part of its Places that Matter project, on June 27 – making it the first ever nightclub to receive a plaque in this project as a historical site in Vancouver.
Evolving from the Vancouver 125th Anniversary celebrations in 2011, the Places That Matter project was developed to share the unique and lesser known history of the people, places and events that have shaped Vancouver since its incorporation as a city in 1886.
A collaborative project, the Vancouver Heritage Foundation asked the public to nominate a place, person or event that is important to the city of Vancouver, but has yet to receive the recognition it deserves. From there, an independent committee made up of local historians, artists, students, heritage consultants, writers and educators reviewed the nominations and selected 125 Vancouver stories to be celebrated with a Places That Matter Plaque, including Celebrities Nightclub.
At the ceremony, Celebrities co-owners Alvaro Prol and Bill Kerasiotis will be presented with a researched blue plaque commemorating their role in contributing decades of iconic culture to the city.
Many Vancouverites are unaware of the fact that Celebrities has served as an entertainment mainstay in Vancouver since 1911. It was one of the city’s first ever dance halls.
A look at Celebrities’ back-history:
- 1908 – The structure is built
- 1911 – Architect Thomas Hooper designs the space as the Lester Dance Academy, a liquor primary establishment
- 1940s – The space becomes the Embassy Ballroom, a genteel dancing club
- 1960s – the club changes several times, first as Elegant Parlour, then Dante’s Inferno; home to rock legend Jimi Hendrix, and once holding the stage for The Doors; followed by Retinal Circus, a club most famous for its psychedelic art, regularly booking psychedelic, blues, rock and rockabilly bands, like Led Zeppelin.
- 1980s – the Kerasiotis family takes ownership and the club has since remained a symbol of music and dance as Celebrities nightclub – continuing to bring in the biggest talents and internationally celebrated DJs and performers from all around the world, including Tiesto, David Guetta, Skrillex, Boy George and Ru Paul.
For over 100 years this spot has been a top nightlife destination and has continued to prove itself as a symbol of progressive entertainment. This is especially true in its recent 30 years as Celebrities, where it has welcomed a diverse clientele from the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transsexual and straight communities.
“Celebrities has always been very special to us and we’re incredibly thankful to be recognized as notable piece of Vancouver’s culture and history,” shares Alvaro Prol, co-owner of Celebrities Nightclub.
“It is difficult for nightclubs in Vancouver to stay relevant for five years, let alone one-hundred, and although this building has evolved over the years, it has always upheld a reputation as a sought after destination for music or dance events. There’s just something extraordinary about the space that’s carried throughout the years,” he adds.