Sept. 4: Templeton Drive-In Theatre, Gatineau QC

It’s Day 247 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. After three weeks in Ontario, I drove down from the Skylight Drive-In of Pembroke, through Ottawa and just across the Ottawa River to the Templeton Drive-In Theatre in Gatineau QC. It took about two hours to get here.

I approach the drive-ins (or ciné-parcs) of Quebec with great trepidation. Most of the information about them is in French, and for some reason the province didn’t have any until 1970. I do have Google Translate, so that’s something.

The Templeton’s story is unusually basic. It’s been open since 1974, yet it’s had only one owner, Paul Touchet. It’s the only drive-in in North America, or probably anywhere, that shows movies in French and English, one screen each. For a hint of what the owner is like, I highly recommend the lengthy, English-language 2009 interview with Touchet hosted on KeyRecords.com.

There were storm clouds a few years ago when the City of Gatineau was considering purchasing or just plain snatching the Templeton’s land to expand the city’s industrial park. According to Toronto Metro News, the city put a two-year hold on the land in 2007, advising the owner not to make improvements while the city decided what it would do. It renewed that hold in 2009 with a deadline of 2011. Fortunately, the city council voted in November that year to leave the drive-in alone.

The Templeton converted to digital projection in 2013. According to CHIP FM, all five Quebec ciné-parc owners agreed to switch at the same time to get a better deal from the equipment supplier.

The YouTube video of the day is the drive-in’s commercial, which is in French but shows what the place looks like. For another nice French video, the CBC‘s report from 2013 left me wishing I could embed it here.

Darn it, I just missed the last movie of the season the night before. The Templeton’s web site says it’ll be back in the spring (or printemps) of 2018.

Miles Today / Total: 109 / 28538 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: dark / 160

Nearby Restaurant: For a great burger, I ate the Foubrac burger at Le Foubrac. It’s a burger topped with cream cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, caramelized onions and mushrooms. There’s also enough beer to keep the meal balanced.

Where I Virtually Stayed: I stayed at the Ramada Plaza just across the street from the Casino du Lac-Leamy, which was a decent place to spend the evening without a movie. My room had the full set of modern amenities, plus one of the bathtubs with therapeutic water jets and an electric fireplace. Breakfast isn’t included, but a Tim Hortons is so close by that I hardly noticed.

Only in Gatineau: Gatineau is home to the Canadian Museum of History, a huge place that includes so very much Canadian history. The hockey exhibit included a can of Rocket Richard tomato soup and a prototype of a tabletop hockey game.

Next stop: Drive-in Saint-Eustache, Saint-Eustache QC.

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