It’s Day 235 of my virtual Drive-In-a-Day Odyssey, and my tenth in Ontario. It took just 45 minutes to drive from the Hanover Drive-In Theatre, which is in Hanover of course, to the Owen Sound Drive-In, which is in Owen Sound of course.
The Owen Sound apparently opened in 1950; a TripAdvisor photo shows “Since 1950” written on one of the walls there. At that point, it had a single, old-fashioned screen tower, later widened to accommodate widescreen movies. The Motion Picture Almanac says that it could hold 300 cars, and from at least 1953-63, the drive-in’s owner was Waite & Warwick Ltd.
There’s a second screen at the drive-in these days. Movie-Theatre.org believes it was added around 1980. In February 2012, the Owen Sound Sun Times reported that the drive-in was sold to a neighbor, Pickard Construction, who was mainly interested in an adjacent piece of land. That story said that Maurice Pickard planned to lease the drive-in section to its former owner to continue normal operations. “I have had lots of people say, you can’t do anything with the drive-in. It’s historical,” said Pickard. “Even people at the office, they take their kids to it.”
Some time between the close of the 2013 season (as seen in this blog post) and 2016 (as seen in the YouTube video embedded above), management improved the marquee. It looks much nicer now. You’ll also note that this is one of the drive-ins to place the playground behind the concession / projection building. I think that’s a smart move to keep the kids close to the sodas and snacks that they’ll want to buy.
I was again deeply grateful for the second screen, which spared me another round of The Emoji Movie. Instead I watched Kidnap for the second time.
Miles Today / Total: 35 / 27796 (rounded to the nearest mile)
Movie Showing / Total Active Nights: Kidnap / 149
Nearby Restaurant: For the kind of retro experience I hope to find near every venerable old drive-in theater, the best place in town is Elsie’s Diner. Black and white tiled floor. Red vinyl on every seating surface. And serving a nice old-fashioned gravy-covered roast beef sandwich with a true malted milkshake.
Where I Virtually Stayed: The Best Western Inn On The Bay is indeed right on the shoreline of Georgian Bay with spectacular views. My queen bed room had a mini-fridge and solid wifi, which are really all I need. Breakfast would have been nice too; at least it’s available for a few toonies more.
Only in Owen Sound: The impractical furniture theme continues just east of town in Meaford, home of the world’s largest porch swing. The Owen Sound Sun Times documented the efforts of sculptor Rob Mahy to turn hundreds of pieces of wind-blown cedar, 5,000 screws, and two cases of industrial glue into a 36-foot bench and the frame needed to swing it. Roadside America reports that Mahy succeeded.
Next stop: Midland Drive-In, Midland ON.