May 24: Big Island Drive In Theater, Flin Flon MB

Cars parked in front of a drive-in screen

photo by noricum via Flickr

It’s Day 144 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey. Time for another crazy-long drive, seven and a half hours from Lumsden SK up north and just barely across the province border to the Big Island Drive In Theater a few kilometers south of Flin Flon MB.

The Big Island is the northernmost active drive-in. (I’ll leave the question of the northernmost closed drive-in as an exercise for the reader; leave a comment if you find one to beat the Big Island.) The Park Drive-In Theatre in Prince George BC is a close second.

The Big Island’s web site says that it “was created in 1957 by the Ernest family and operated into the 80’s before it changed hands into the Leefe and Eastman families and operated until 2015.” According to The Reminder of Flin Flon, Bill Leefe was converting to digital projection in June 2015. Then, according to the Big Island site, “Dawn and Dan Hlady purchased the drive in and went forward with the digital conversion.”

Boy, did I get lucky this time! The Big Island was showing movies Wednesday through Sunday already, so I had some entertainment. Even better, it was a movie I hadn’t seen yet, the “domestic thriller” Unforgettable. Fed by White Castle burgers from the concession stand, I was happy. And really far north.

Miles Today / Total:  430 / 17671 (rounded to the nearest mile)

Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Unforgettable / 64

Nearby Restaurant: The Chicken Chef had me at “chicken”. It’s a regional chain, mostly in Manitoba. After a hard day of driving, I chose the standard four-piece dinner with poutine and onion rings. Add a grilled cinnamon bun for dessert, and you’ve got a large, solid meal.

Where I Virtually Stayed: The Oreland Motel doesn’t look like much from the outside, but it’s another one of those hidden gems, a mom and pop kind of place that’s as good as the chains. My room was clean and had a full kitchenette and decent wifi. The price was amazing.

Only in Flin Flon: Flin Flon sits just north of an irregular, about 1.25-mile east-west segment of the generally north-south border between Saskatchewan and Manitoba. There are also other such jogs at other points along that border. As explained in 2012 by The Globe and Mail, they’re “caused by adjustments in the land-survey grid for Western Canada, to compensate for the curvature of the Earth.” I could explain more, but you ought to just go read it.

Next stop: Twilite Drive In Theatre, Wolseley SK.