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The ByTowne is coming back

The Bytowne Cinema. Photo by Caroline Fournier. Caroline says: “Long gone are the days of the single room cinema and going to the Bytowne is like walking back to your grandma’s house … old yet comforting."

Cinemaphiles got some very welcome news late last week. The Bytowne Cinema, which had closed at the end of 2020, will re-open under new management in the near future.

Here’s the update that Bruce White, the cinema’s former owner, write in the Bytowne’s newsletter with the details:

The new owners plan to continue the tradition of the ByTowne and operate an indie cinema that will offer international films, documentaries and Canadian movies. And in my opinion, they have all the necessary qualities to make it a success.

Beyond that, I can’t give you specifics.

I’ll leave it to the new owners to tell you what they’ve got planned. Soon, they’ll be introducing themselves via this newsletter and our social media accounts, so STAY SUBSCRIBED to stay informed about developments.

White continued:

Don’t get too excited too quickly. According the Province of Ontario’s re-opening plan, indoor activities will be permitted only in the third stage of loosened restrictions. That’s several weeks/months away.

And it’s my view that, even when theatres and cinemas are allowed to open their doors, attendance caps will be similar to what we had to endure back in 2020. Last summer and fall, we could only host 50 patrons at a time. It doesn’t pay the bills.

The new owners can’t be asked to lose money right from their opening day, so your next trip to the ByTowne can’t happen for a while. Expect to spend your summer doing other, more outdoorsy, things (I’m personally hoping for some Odyssey Theatre and Shakespeare in the park). When attendance limits are more reasonable, movies can light up the ByTowne screen again.

White added that in the meantime, he is still around maintaining the facility and paying the bills. In the newsletter, he outlines some ways fans can give him a hand — including by renting out the cinema’s marquee for a day for personal messages.