Happy 40th Birthday to the Elora Gorge Cinema!

When most people think of a night out at the movies, it usually means going to one of the many multiplexes found coast to coast in Canada (about 75% of which are now owned by Cineplex Odeon).

However, it wasn’t always this way. Theatres used to be large, single screen affairs in big cities and long, narrow structures found on the main street of small towns. In addition to first run houses, there were also repertory theatres. Smaller, more intimate affairs, rep houses ran movies that had already finished their time in first run theatres, as well as movies that were often quite old, but ripe for revival.

Rep houses were a pretty common sight in big cities and some small towns, but have grown increasingly scarce in recent years, particularly with the switch over to digital, an expense that not all independent cinemas could manage.

One that has managed to weather all of the changes that have occurred in the industry during the past four decades is the Elora Gorge Cinema. Located in the lovely small town of the same name and now in its 40th year, the Gorge served as both a small town cinema and a rep house, running new-ish movies alongside classics from other eras.

Nowadays, the Gorge rarely runs older movies (though Roman Polanski’s CHINATOWN from 1974 is on the schedule this month), offering instead films that have run their course at Cineplex as well as indie and foreign movies that would not be booked at multiplexes. It’s a nice mix that serves both cinephiles and casual moviegoers.

Admission price is comparable to the chain theatres, though a bit less if you buy a membership. The theatre itself is nice and cozy, with a good quality digital projector and sound system. The stone walls provide a different kind of ambiance from your generic corporate theatre and are very appropriate given the close proximity of the gorge. It’s a great place to see a movie and another reason to stop by this lovely town when in the area.