Aug. 29: Port Hope Drive In, Cobourg ON

It’s Day 241 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and my 16th in Ontario. Driving straight towards Lake Ontario, it took me an hour to drive from the community of Lindsay to the Port Hope Drive In, just west of Cobourg.

The Port Hope is about halfway between Cobourg and Port Hope, which explains why it began as the Midway Drive-In. Although some articles say it opened in 1952, others say it was 1947 and that it’s one of the oldest continuously operated drive-ins in Canada. In the early 50s, its owner was “Northumberland Drive-In,” and it could hold 500 cars. By 1959, Premier Theatres had moved in.

According to an article saved by Port Hope History, in January 1986 Premier sold the Midway and two indoor theaters to three men who lived in Seattle. Movie-Theatre.org listed the drive-in’s owners as A & M Sacco in 1990.

Then there’s some confusion about what this drive-in was called, and when. (I think the main problem was a lack of permanent signage. Old and new photos show the name only on letter boards.) Possibly it was the Saccos who later renamed it the Century Drive-In, as listed by DriveInTheater.com circa 2001. At some point before 2008, it was renamed the Port Hope, as shown by its Archive.org-preserved web site. But when a McGill University grad student visited in 2013, a Northumberland Today writer called it the Midway Drive-In.

The YouTube video of the day is a type I haven’t seen before. It’s a book trailer for a novel set at the Port Hope, or some similar drive-in. At least I think that’s what’s going on; I haven’t read the book, called Sorry, Celeste.

The snack of the night was “prings,” onion rings made like a poutine. The movie was Annabelle: Creation, the kind of scary film that works well at a drive-in even though it’s not my favorite genre.

Miles Today / Total: 46 / 28107 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Annabelle: Creation / 155

Nearby Restaurant: Once again my search for schnitzel was rewarded by a visit to the Matterhorn Restaurant. I got to experience a Gordon blue chicken schnitzel stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese. (I’d call it a cordon bleu, so it must have been a pun I didn’t recognize.) Add an apple strudel for dessert, and I was set for the rest of the day.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The Best Western Plus Cobourg Inn was probably the best place to stay in Cobourg. My room had a refrigerator and wifi, my two essentials, and the hotel was close enough to a Tim Hortons that I didn’t need to buy the breakfast on site. It got me on the road that much sooner.

Only in Cobourg: Victoria Hall was opened in 1860 by the Prince of Wales. It was restored in 1983, and its second-floor concert hall holds plays and musical performances in an intimate setting. It’s a big, beautiful old building, and it’s nice to see it back to its original splendor.

Next stop: Havelock Family Drive-In, Havelock ON.

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