Community & Current Events

Are drive-in movies still a thing?

By: Natalie Wong

FlickrCC/Sean's fotos Author: Canadian Living Credits: FlickrCC/Sean's fotos

Community & Current Events

Are drive-in movies still a thing?

By: Natalie Wong

Do you ever feel nostalgic for drive-in movies? In the 1950s and '60s, drive-in theatres were common (Grease, anyone?), with upwards of 5,000 in Canada and the U.S. alone. Even in the '70s and '80s, you could still pile the kids into the car and catch a movie outdoors.

In the last couple of decades, however, the number of drive-in movie theatres has dropped drastically, thanks in large part to a higher quality visual and sound experience at traditional movie theatres. But if you're looking for a fun movie experience with a carload of friends or family, why not try a drive-in? You can still find them in Canada.

Unlike the hush of a movie theatre, drive-ins have a fun, carefree, low-key vibe—it's outdoors after all! Some of today's iterations see large screens set up in a parking lot with plenty of room for cars. Parking etiquette is simple enough: Larger cars should park behind smaller cars and drivers should leave a comfortable space between vehicles. Just like the good old days, movie sound is received through your car's FM radio transmitter or through a portable, battery operated radio. (You can even use headphones!)

Tip:
Check the drive-in's website prior to heading out so there aren't any surprises—they might take cash only, for example, when you buy your ticket.

Here are five drive-in theatres to try across Canada:


The Docks Drive-In, Toronto, Ont.
When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays until September 7, 2015
Why you should go: The Docks features newly released double-bill movies at The Docks Entertainment Complex parking lot right in the heart of downtown Toronto, on Cherry Street. With two large screens and room for up to 400 cars, this drive-in also has a snack bar where you can order up popcorn, sweets and sodas. Experience a cozy cinematic night under the stars! And that's not the only thing in the entertainment complex: Before going to the drive-in, head to nearby Cherry Beach, the driving range or the go-kart track. For more details, visit thedocks.com

Starlight Drive-In, Enderby, B.C.

When: Every night until September 6, 2015
Why you should go: The Starlight features the largest drive-in screen in North America. Located in picturesque Enderby, north of Kelowna, B.C. in the North Okanagan region, there's more to discover than just outdoor movies. Extend your drive-in adventure to include a weekend camping trip along the Shuswap River. Bonus: The concession is super-affordable (a large popcorn is only $4). For more details, visit starlightdrivein.ca.

Neptune Drive-In: Shediac, N.B.

When: Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays all summer (Check website to confirm movie schedule.)
Why you should go: The parking area for the Neptune is on a slight bank; your car will angle upward toward the screen for comfortable movie viewing. Not only does one low price gets you two movies, but there's a cool canteen that sells treats. Shediac is also dubbed "The Lobster Capital of the World," so indulge in some seafood while you're in town! Tip: This drive-in is popular, so arrive early and buy your tickets in advance. For more details, visit neptunedrivein.ca.

Brackley Drive-In Theatre, Brackley Beach, P.E.I.

When: Every night, May to August; weekends in September
Why you should go: The sole drive-in theatre on Prince Edward Island, the Brackley amps up nostalgia with a 1950s theme. Your family will love the canteen with its vintage Coca-Cola machine and jukebox, and a 1950s Morris Miner car. The screen itself is enormous at over five stories tall and 72-feet wide. To top it all off, this drive-in boasts a 18-hole mini-golf course! For more details, visit drivein.ca.

Saint-Eustache Drive-In, Saint-Eustache, Que.
When: Every night until mid-September
Why you should go: Located in an off-island suburb of Montreal, the Saint-Eustache is one of the largest and most modern drive-ins in Canada. Offering new releases in both French and English and a different double feature in English every Thursday, the theatre also includes a restaurant, milk bar and arcade. Bonus: Before movie time, check out the lively Saint-Eustache Flea Drive-in Flea Market.
For more details, visit cineparc.mathers.ca.

To discover other fun activities for a family night, click here.
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Are drive-in movies still a thing?

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