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The Ridge Theatre, again making the news.
Ridge Theatre faces final curtainby Ian BaileyVANCOUVER— From Tuesday’s Globe and MailPublished Monday, Mar. 12, 2012 9:36PM EDT
“After more than 60 years of operation, the Ridge Theatre – birthplace of the Vancouver International Film Festival – will see its final credits roll within a year.
The 500-seat Arbutus Street cinema, a rare one-screen operation in a multiplex era, will fall victim to a massive redevelopment that will replace the cinema and other businesses in its strip-mall location with a retail complex topped by five storeys of condos…"
The website should be updated to www.festivalcinemas.ca as www.ridgetheatre.com is now officially closed. The previous management was forced out rather abruptly and new management took over in late December of 2005. The owners of the property installed cushy seats with higher backs and big cup holders, and they are now playing more modern films in rotation with the other theatres in the Festival Cinemas network. Purists may not like the new seats, but honestly, having more legroom and an aisle along the wall is hard to knock.
To it’s credit, the Ridge hasn’t gone completely mainstream. They do play favourites from Sundance and other festivals around the world among a few modern selections, but their calendar doesn’t change as often with each film showing for a longer period of time. Some of the Ridge’s former diet of classic cinema & offbeat films have moved to the excellent new International Film Centre (or Vancity Theatre).
Located downtown Vancouver, http://www.vifc.org, the Vancity Theatre is also not far from the Pacific Cinematheque http://www.cinematheque.bc.ca Both of these specialty theatres are well-run but notably smaller and lacking the heritage architecture.
Here is the letter that the previous owners posted late last November:
“The management and staff of the Ridge are truly heartbroken to announce that in late December of this year the theatre will be undergoing a change in ownership. Lease negotiations between the Ridge and the property owners began this summer in an attempt to deal with a substantial increase in operating expenses, largely tied to a 16% increase in property taxes, but these talks were unfortunately unsuccessful.
When it opened its doors in April 1950, the Ridge Theatre was hailed as “A miracle of modern architecture and construction” boasting the latest in projection equipment and creature comforts. In the late 1970s the Ridge became a repertory or “second run” theatre, a role that continues to this day. Although the baton has been lovingly passed from hand to hand over the years, those of us behind the scenes at the Ridge have always made it our priority to provide Vancouver’s theatre goers with the best all-around moviegoing experience, a mission we regret deeply that we will no longer be able to fulfill. It’s no understatement that for many of us here, life will not be the same.
The Ridge was recently named “Best Second-Run Theatre” by the readers of the Georgia Straight, a fitting, if somewhat sad, honour under the circumstances. That said, what better way to part company than with the support of the
community we have always cherished and striven to serve.
Our last screening will be long time Ridge favourite the World’s Best Commercials on December 23, after which we’ll say good-bye and thank you, Vancouver.
Thanks for your support & interest over the years…
…the staff & management of the Ridge Theatre."