Watching movies under the stars at the drive-in theatre is increasingly becoming a long-lost pastime in Canada.
As the industry switches from 35-mm film prints to a pricey all-digital format, many of the remaining seasonal mom-and-pop theatres are being forced to close their gates for good.
There’s fewer than 50 drive-ins left in Canada already, down from 250 in its heydays of the 1950s.
Among the lucky ones, however, is the Twilite Drive-In — the oldest in Saskatchewan and one of the first in Canada — opened by the Zaba family 59 years ago.
They came up with $85,000 to switch to a digital projector in July. But had it not been for cash raised from steak dinner fundraisers and donations from the community, the theatre would have been forced to fade to black like so many others.
“We’re happy to be able to remain open for the nostalgia part. Everyone around the community is very pleased at us staying open. Hopefully they’ll keep supporting it,” said owner Don Zaba from his theatre in Wolseley, about 100 km east of Regina.
Just four drive-ins remain in Saskatchewan, but two of them still operate with outdated film projectors and could shutter soon if the owners can’t come up with the cash to update their equipment.