Jazz Plaster

If you’ve been to the Westdale Theatre, you may have noticed the textured plaster walls throughout the theatre. I’m not referring to the pebble dashed wall covering in the font lobby, which we know was added later, but to the plaster that is on all three floors of the building.

When we visited the Ontario Archives in Toronto to learn more about the theatre, we discovered a three ring booklet filled with specs from the architect, Bruce Riddell, that provided some interesting insights into his specifications for the construction of the theatre.

One such detail was something he referred to as “jazz plaster’, a term none of us had heard before. So, we googled it and sure enough, jazz plaster refers to a  specific type of plaster, or stucco, developed by O. A. Malone in California in the late 1920’s. Apparently, he founded the California Stucco Products Corporation in 1927. Remember, our theatre was constructed in 1935.

The jazz plaster is in remarkably good shape. There are a few cracks here and there, and some water damage on the lower walls closer to the stage in the auditorium. All of it can be repaired. By the way, we had a professional plasterer visit us at the theatre saying he know all about jazz plaster and would be happy to help us with any patching we needed. Urban barn raising, Hamilton-style.