George and Ellen Hurtubise have plenty of good memories from taking in the latest Hollywood flicks at drive-in theatres while dating and later throughout their 34-year marriage.
So, Friday night’s pop-up outdoor theatre in North Bay was just the ticket for this movie-loving couple.
“It was a gift from my daughter for my birthday yesterday. I’m looking forward to getting out of the house finally and getting to do something else. Just seeing people and doing something normal,” laughed Ellen.
“Drive-ins used to be very popular. We went to lots of drive-ins. We met in Winnipeg so we went to the drive-in lots in Winnipeg and we’ve been to the one in Gravenhurst and the one in Barrie.”
George recalled seeing Friday night’s opening show “Grease” when it was played at the Trout Lake drive-in many years ago.
“North Bay at one time had two drive-ins. There was the one on Trout Lake and the other one was on Lakeshore Drive. There used to be an A&W there and people would drive in behind it,” said George.
“Tonight is about bringing back those memories and when we went to see Grease. It was a great show, we really enjoyed it.”
The couple would like to see the outdoor theatre make a comeback.
“It would be nice to have a drive-in theatre back again. I`m sure a lot of people would be out enjoying it. It would really be something,” said George.
Sitting behind the wheel of her car, Kim Pacardo’s ticket was scanned by staff to avoid physical contact.
The young woman was excited to experience her first drive-in movie.
“We picked this movie because it is a classic. I think this is going to be a lot of fun,” she grinned.
And “fun” is what Benjamin MacKenzie, one of the owners of Horizon Drive-In and business partner Kelsey Cutinello hoped would be the takeaway from the evening.
The movie Grease was followed by a late night showing of the horror film, the Conjuring.
But the real horror was the threat of severe rain and thunderstorm activity.
“Our challenge was the rain and the wind. They slowed us down. Our screen is completely inflatable so inflating a 40-foot screen with big winds turns into kind of a parasail situation,” explained MacKenzie.
“But we have a solid team and everyone worked really hard through the rain, through the weather. It has stopped raining now so that is good.”
“Grease” was a sellout.
“There were 240 vehicles that were sold for the show. It is $15 for an adult and $10 for a child. So, if there are two adults in a car, you’re looking at $30 plus HST,” said MacKenzie.
“The price of the ticket is for one film. If you would like to stay for both, you have to pay for an additional ticket.”
The student-driven business has only been in operation since March of this year.
“We are all young university students who are in school who are doing this. We are working with food banks in different cities across the north to do a canned food drive at our next one. This is just our opening month. So, in August we’re looking to do partnerships,” explained MacKenzie.
“We’re looking to expand into Manitoulin, Massey, Sudbury, the Sault and Timmins. That is our target market. We have show dates confirmed everywhere except for the Sault right now.”
The next scheduled date for North Bay is Saturday, July 25th.
The movies will be announced on its website Monday