drive-in theatre

Drive-in movie theatres could soon make a comeback in Canada

Grab your popcorn and car keys, because drive-in movie theatres could be making a major comeback in Canada over the next few years โ€” poodle skirts optional.

The '50s trend took a bit of a hiatus over the past few decades, but it seems to be picking up steam again as bans on public gatherings force Canadians to get creative.

And since indoor movie theatres aren't exactly social distancing-friendly, what better way to enjoy a new flick than in the comfort of your Honda?

Admittedly, some drive-in theatres in Canada were already going strong before the pandemic, including the Twilight Drive-In in Langley, B.C., which has been around for more than a decade.

Still, the company acknowledged the particular appeal of a drive-in these days.

"The nice thing about the drive-in has always been that you are in the privacy and comfort of your own vehicle, without having to share an armrest with a stranger, or having people sitting around you coughing," the company said.

That's not to say that drive-in theatres aren't having to make adjustments; the Twilight Drive-In is limiting the number of customers in the concession and washrooms, and it's introduced more spacing between cars.

However, drive-in theatres tend to lend themselves naturally to social distancing โ€” a fact that Nina Keba, the co-owner of the Park Drive-In in Prince George, recognizes.

"This is the year of the drive-in," Keba said, speaking with the CBC. "I think we're going back."

"It's the safety of it all and just knowing that you're secure and you can still watch a movie and be comfortable and you can even put your seat back and relax."

Manitoba's Stardust Drive-In is also looking forward to the newfound opportunity that social distancing has presented drive-in theatres across Canada with.

Speaking to Global News, owner Marlene Nelson said that Stardust is still waiting on the green light from Public Health to reopen, but that Winnipeggers online have expressed interest in making the 90-minute drive to see a movie.

"We've appreciated everyone's excitement and it would be so wonderful to see people coming out," she said.

That being said, you may not want to rush out and buy a cozy blanket and popcorn just yet, because there are only about 30 drive-in movie theatres across Canada right now.

Plus, even if the demand for them is growing, it's still unclear whether drive-in movie theatres will actually be allowed to open this summer in light of public gathering bans.

While B.C. bylaw officers gave a nod of approval to the Twilight Drive-In in mid-April, Alberta Health recently decided that the show would not go on at a drive-in theatre in Mirror โ€” so it seems to vary on a case-by-case basis.

With more provinces reopening from the lockdown in the coming weeks, let's hope that at least a few Canadian drive-in theatres get the green light this summer.

Lead photo by

Mustang Drive-In


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