Memorable Manitobans: Jacob “Jack” Miles (1887-1951)
Theatre owner, community activist.
Born in Russia in 1887, he came to Canada in 1904 and settled at Winnipeg where he worked as a painting contractor and was the proprietor of three bicycle shops. He is said to have introduced Harley Davidson motorcycles to the city. With his companies Allied Amusements and later Western Theatres, he began operating theatres with the 1912 opening of the Palace Theatre, followed by the Rose Theatre (801 Sargent), Plaza Theatre (104 Marion), and Uptown Theatre (1930-1931). In 1935, he purchased three Universal theatres, the Lyceum, College, and Starland, and the following year became associated with the Famous Players Canadian Corporation. At his peak, he controlled 18 theatres in Winnipeg, including the Furby (599 Portage), Starland (628 Main), and Tivoli (115 Maryland). He opened the city’s first drive-in theatre, the Pembina Drive-In on Pembina Highway, in 1949, and later had the Airport (Ellice Avenue), Eldorado (Henderson Highway), and Starlite (Transcona). Active in the Jewish community, he was a President of the Hebrew Sick Benefit Association and a founder and President of the Winnipeg Hebrew Free School. He was a member of B’nai B’rith, Jewish Scientific Institution, and Montefiore Club. He died at his Winnipeg home, 241 Cathedral Avenue, on 18 September 1951 and was buried in the Shaarey Zedek Cemetery. He was survived by his wife and three sons.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Prominent city theatre owner dies at 64,” Winnipeg Free Press, 19 September 1951, page 32.
Burial transcriptions, Manitoba Genealogical Society.
This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.
Page revised: 26 May 2017
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