Drive-Ins in Canada

A look at drive-in theatres in Canada “by the numbers.”

Posted July 8, 2021

In 1946, the Skyway Theatre, Canada’s first drive-in cinema, opened at Stoney Creek, Ontario, east of Hamilton. The Skyway had speaker poles that played the soundtrack of movies at each parking spot, because not all cars had built-in radios at the time.

Drive-in theatres reached their zenith during the 1940s and 1950s and then slowly declined in popularity as indoor movie theatre technology advanced. Despite this, drive-in theatres are still found across the country and make for a nostalgic night out for many Canadians.

16

Number of drive-in theatres in Ontario. About half of Canada’s remaining drive-ins are located in the province.

557

Area in square metres of the screen at Starlight Drive-In Theatre in Sherwood Park, Alberta. Bigger than an NBA court, it stands as the largest drive-in movie screen in the country.

1.6

Maximum height in metres of vehicles permitted in the main parking section of the Valley Drive-In Theatre in Nova Scotia. Taller vehicles must park in a back section to ensure that all patrons can see the screen.

5

Number of screens at the Drive-In Saint-Eustache in Quebec, making it the biggest drive-in theatre space in Canada.

436

Car capacity of the Twilight Drive-In Theatre, Metro Vancouver’s only drive-in movie cinema.

This article originally appeared in the August-September 2021 issue of Canada’s History.

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