Long ago departed theatres once were a mainstay for moviegoers
By Brandon Yip, Senior Columnist
The theatre closed in May 2014 and, according to Global News, was Burnaby’s last independent theatre.
The movie-going experience has been altered because of the pandemic. People have been relegated to watching movies streamed at home or viewing them on their cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
In Coquitlam, during the 1980s, 1990s, and parts of the 2000s, two theatres became prominent for local movie lovers: Coquitlam 4, and Eagle Ridge Cinema. According to cinematreasures.org (who profiled both theatres), Coquitlam 4 opened in 1983 and was located at the corner of Anson Avenue and Pinetree Way—only five minutes away from the David Lam Campus. The theatre originally contained four screens, and it was later renovated in December 1988 to increase to six screens. Cineplex Odeon managed this 1603 seat theatre. The largest screening room seated 435, and the smallest room seated 200. In 1999, the theatre was renamed Pinetree 6 Cinemas. It later closed in 2004 and was demolished to build a Best Buy store north of the property —and today the location operates as a Gap Factory store.
Eagle Ridge Cinema, located at 2635 Barnet Highway, opened in 1984. It had six screens and seating was listed at 1,497. The largest theatre seated 283, and the smallest theatre seated 234. In 2005, Cineplex Odeon took over operations and later closed the theatre in 2008. Today, the site is now Club16 Trevor Linden Fitness.
For Burnaby residents, the City of Lougheed Shopping Centre (previously Lougheed Mall) first opened in September 1969. According to cinematreasures.org, the mall once had a theatre with three screens (opening in December 1969). Seating was listed at 1,526. The cinema closed in 1991 and was later reopened months later by a company called A Theatre Near You. During parts of the ’90s, the theatre had midnight showings at discounted prices, but later closed in 2002. The Dolphin Cinemas was another theatre for moviegoers for nearly 50 years. It first opened in December 1965 with two screens and 680 seats. The theatre closed in May 2014 and, according to Global News, was Burnaby’s last independent theatre.
Today, Coquitlam has only one theatre, Cineplex Cinemas Coquitlam and VIP—located at 170 Schoolhouse Street. Cinematreasures.org states that the theatre first opened in December 1998 and contained 20 screens. Seating is listed at 4,534 with the largest theatre seating 450, and the smallest theatre seating 150. Other amenities include one DBOX screen, one UltraAVX screen, nine (3D) screens, five VIP screens, two party rooms, stars and strollers section, and a licensed lounge. At the time, it was the largest cinema screen-wise that Famous Players opened. Particularly, one screen was the first to utilize digital projections in Canada. In 2005, Cineplex Odeon took over operations of the cinema.
Unfortunately, the theatre remains closed due to the pandemic, as their official website states: “In accordance with orders from the Provincial Government, your local theatre is temporarily closed and will reopen as soon as we are able. We have already begun processing ticket refunds back to your original method of payment. We appreciate your understanding and look forward to welcoming you back soon.”
Actor Simon Callow best describes why people love going to movie theatres—as it is a pleasurable place to escape temporarily from the normal stresses of life: “To enter a theatre for a performance is to be inducted into a magical space, to be ushered into the sacred arena of the imagination.”