The Great Canadian Gaming Corporation is rebranding the Boulevard Casino in Vancouver as the Hard Rock Casino in an effort to attract a younger demographic to the gaming entertainment facility. But a group of rock n roll Vancouverites is taking a stand against the GCGC’s plans, particularly the renaming of the Red Robinson Show Theatre adjoining the casino.
When the Boulevard Casino was expanded in 2006, the renovations included development plans for a live event theatre that sat next to the casino. In the decade leading up to the expansion, the rock n roll industry repeatedly honoured Red Robinson, one of the first DJs in Vancouver to play rock n roll music over the radio.
Robinson was inducted into the Rock n Roll Hall of Fame in 1995, followed by induction to the Canadian Broadcast Hall of Fame in 1997. As one of Vancouver’s most iconic representatives of rock n roll, the Boulevard Casino named its new live event theatre after the legendary DJ.
But the theatre is now owned by the GCGC, and is undergoing renovations alongside the Boulevard Casino as part of the rebranding into the Hard Rock Casino. The new casino is scheduled to open on December 20, and the GCGC intends to rename the Red Robinson Show Theatre, though no new name has been decided to date.
Members of Vancouver’s music industry are outraged at the GCGC’s plans, and started a petition to prevent the renaming of the theatre. By the end of the day on November 14, nearly 400 people had signed the petition, which sends a strong message to the GCGC.
“To honor a man by naming a building after him is a great honor. But to throw that away after seven years is a disgrace. There are buildings throughout the Lower Mainland with names that go back a century. Red Robinson deserves the same respect.”
The GCGC responded by stating the decision to rename the theatre was not made lightly, and that the organization will “monitor and assess” how the community reacts to the petition.