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River District Drive-In set to open to movie-goers for second season

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Cars fill the lot at River District Drive-In during a screening in 2015. Photo: Submitted by Russ Davies, Fresh Air Cinema archives

Reported by Jessica Purver

Movie-lovers in South Vancouver now have the opportunity to experience the nostalgia of watching their favourite films at a drive-in theatre.

After a successful trial run in 2015 with the River District, one of Vancouver’s last major development projects south of Marine Way, the outdoor movie company FreshAirCinema (FAC) has signed on with Wesgroup Properties for the drive-in’s second year. The company thrives on using non-traditional spaces to bring communities together.

The drive-in is located south of Marine Way on Boundary Road. They are using a vacant lot for the theatre until its development begins.

“We have some idle space while we’re waiting for things to be developed,” said Amy Médard de Chardon, director of marketing for Wesgroup.

The idea for the drive-in emerged because they wanted to dedicate a space for temporary community events.

Last season a success for drive-in

For Russ Davies, senior event producer and film programmer at FAC, the positive reaction of last year’s drive-in allowed them to extend their line-up this season to include Halloween and Christmas-themed series.

Out of more than 38 drive-ins that were in British Columbia, only three remain. Abbreviated seasons, high land cost and household technological advances were all contributing factors to the decline in popularity.

“There hasn’t been a drive-in in the Vancouver area, ever,” Davies said.

Despite this, Davies found that outdoor movies are gaining traction with the public because it’s an experience that major theatres can’t provide. This makes them appealing for date nights as well as family get-togethers.

“That’s really our goal; to make great memories,” said Davies.

For Melissa Paulse, Vancouver resident and regular customer of the Twilight Drive-In in Aldergrove, the mixture of old and new is what appeals to her.

“It’s the nostalgia to when we were kids and when there were more drive-ins,” Paulse said.

The River District Drive-In opens its doors at 6:00 p.m. Oct. 21 for a double feature of Beetlejuice and Scream. Admission is $20 by carload, and free for those who walk or bike.

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