A first-of-its-kind theatre in western Canada is a total loss after police say an arsonist set it ablaze.

The Manitoba RCMP says emergency personnel were called to the Lido Theatre on Edwards Avenue in The Pas, Man., around 4:40 a.m. on Monday. Upon arrival, officers observed extensive smoke emanating from the building.

Fire crews from The Pas and neighbouring Opaskwayak Cree Nation responded to the blaze. They battled the blaze over "a few hours" and were able to bring it under control.

The RCMP says that "with assistance from the Office of the Fire Commissioner, the preliminary investigation has determined the cause of the fire to be the result of arson."

Anyone with information regarding this fire is asked to contact The Pas RCMP at 204-627-6204, call Manitoba Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-222-8477 or submit a secure tip online at www.manitobacrimestoppers.com.

First theatre with sound

The Lido was built in 1929 and opened in 1930. It was the first theatre in western Canada built specifically for movies with sound, according to the Manitoba Historical Society.

It was an 'atmospheric theatre,' meaning the interior had elements "designed to evoke the sense of being transported to an exotic outdoor location." 

The theatre had remained in business through 2019. In 2020 it underwent renovations but the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in its closure.