It’s Day 234 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and my ninth in Ontario. It took an hour to drive from Guelph to the Hanover Drive-In Theatre, in Hanover of course.
The early years of the Hanover haven’t left many traces on the internet or most of the other places I look. Most of what I know comes from a single 2013 article in The Post, which I covered in brief when it came out. That’s the source for the year the drive-in opened, 1953. The Motion Picture Almanac that year listed H. Fisher as the owner; in 1959 it listed Bert Fisher, so maybe his full name was Herbert. In 1963, the almanac said the owner was B. Wiggins. A caption fragment of a since-moved photo at the Grey Roots Museum and Archives was “Hanover, Drive-In, Theatre, Bert Fisher, Beverley Wiggins” so maybe that was the B Wiggins who later owned the Hanover.
Flash forward to 2013, when the Hanover’s owners, JD Lyons and Lyle Schaus, installed a digital projector. “The choice to go to digital was one you didn’t have a choice in,” Lyons said. “Film is quickly going to be disappearing.”
That Post article said that the benefit to the community was a big reason why the partners invested in digital. “We sort of had to pay, convert, or become history,” Lyons said. ” We decided, after dwelling on that for some time, that we would make the move and go to digital.”
And that’s about it. That gorgeous old-fashioned screen tower (better photo here) looks like it could be the original. The theatre only takes cash, TripAdvisor visitors love it, and it’s open weekends plus Tuesdays, which is why I scheduled a Tuesday visit.
Update: A very helpful researcher at Grey Roots Museum and Archives followed up by sending me a copy of that scrapbook page that had moved. At the top of the page was the note “By: Mr. Harvey Schmitt – 1964”. The photo was dated September 1960, and its caption read, “The Hanover Drive-In Theatre was built by Mr. Bert Fisher of Listowel in 1953. It is presently owned and operated by Mr. Beverley Wiggins of Durham.”
I knew this day would come. One screen, no choice in the movie I see, and that movie is The Nut Job 2. On first viewing, it seemed relatively inoffensive to grown-ups but best suited for small children.
Miles Today / Total: 66 / 27761 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: The Nut Job 2 / 148
Nearby Restaurant: I had a good time in the afternoon betting the horses via simulcast and having a late lunch at The Coach House at Hanover Raceway. I looked out over the track, empty that day, and enjoyed a sandwich and a beer as I looked over my opportunities to lose more Canadian currency.
Where I Virtually Stayed: If you want a hotel in Hanover, your choice is probably going to be the Travellers Inn Hanover. It’s a small place with rooms that have the full set of modern amenities despite a very nice price. There’s coffee available and plenty of cash left in my pocket for breakfast.
Only in Hanover: On the way between Guelph and Hanover, just north of Varney, is the world’s largest Adirondack chair, according to Roadside America. For much of its life, it was painted white, but the most recent report is that it was painted red with white Canadian maple leaves.
Next stop: Owen Sound Drive-In, Owen Sound ON.