The Garneau Theatre was designed in the Art Moderne style by William Blaikie for Suburban Theatres of Edmonton. Construction was completed in the summer of 1940, and the first screening (The Great Waltz) was on October 24, 1940. The theatre has had many styles of programming over the years, under Suburban (Bill Wilson, Manager) until 1971, Famous Players (1971-1990), Magic Lantern Theatres (1991-2011) and Metro Cinema (2011-Present).
A renovation to the building exterior in 2009 helped usher in a new set of tenants sharing the building with the theatre: Transcend Coffee, Zouzou Hair Group, La Poutine, and Kabuki Japanese Restaurant.
The theatre features 300 seats on its main level, and a distinctive 200-seat mezzanine level. A permanent stage structure has been in place from the beginning, and the Garneau has often been used for talks, performances and community gatherings.
Leaseholders since 2011, Metro Cinema has been working to restore the vintage architectural touches of the theatre, while meeting the needs of contemporary cinema. The theatre is capable of screening classic 35mm film and a variety of contemporary formats.
The lobby of the Garneau is now outfitted with the ability to support film screenings, live performances, presentations, and meetings. A very active gallery in the lobby has a rotating monthly exhibit of work by local visual artists.