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Rio Theatre trying to help save one of Canada's oldest independent cinemas

Last Updated Apr 16, 2021 at 11:50 pm PDT

(Courtesy Powell River Film Society)

Powell River's Patrica Theatre is the only one in town, and has been operating for nearly 100 years

The local film society needs to raise $450,000 to keep the cinema up and running

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — One of the oldest independent cinemas in Canada is a few weeks away from shutting its doors forever, and Vancouver’s Rio Theatre is pitching in to try to prevent that from happening.

Powell River’s Patrica Theatre is the only one in town, and has been operating for nearly 100 years in its current location. The Powell River Film Society needs to raise $450,000 to keep it up and running.

Owner Corrine Lea hopes that fans of the Rio Theatre will donate to help save this one.

“A small theatre in Powell river might not have the same reach that the Rio Theatre does. We care about independent theatres, we’re passionate about them, and we wanted to do what we can to help,” she says.

“I would be overjoyed if they’re able to raise the money and save the theatre.”

RELATED: Vancouver’s iconic Rio Theatre to keep its doors open

In 2018, the Rio faced a similar threat of closure but crowdfunding, and investors helped her raise enough money to buy the building so she could keep the popcorn popping and the films rolling.

“The thing that helped us a lot at the Rio a real was just everyone coming together, doing their part. So if everyone contributes a small amount, then we’ve seen the power of how that works,” she says.

Lea says she’s in touch with many other theatre owners across the country that are struggling, and might not make it out of the pandemic. Since they’ve been ordered to close by the Provincial Health Officer, they are subsisting only on government grants.

“Each place, each Theatre has a different story. I know that there’s theatres in smaller communities where they have zero COVID outbreaks, and so it’s hard for them to, you know, really understand why they have to be closed,” she says.

As for the Patricia, the deadline for them to raise the funds is April 30.

“The time is now. The need is urgent,” Lea says.

Donations can be made online.