A vast waterfront parking lot in Vaudreuil is set to become the suburb’s newest family entertainment destination.
Vaudreuil is planning to open a drive-in movie theatre this summer at Campus de la Cité-des-Jeunes.
“We were looking at what we could do, where we could bring people together and have them to do an activities, especially as a family, and someone came up with the idea of a Cine-Parc, a drive-in,” said Vaudreuil-Dorion Mayor Guy Pilon.
All the city’s festivals and events have been cancelled, freeing up $100,000. The huge parking lot will be vacant, and has a nice waterfront view.
“We will put a screen on three big container boxes, and we will be able to accommodate between 90 and 100 cars,” said Pilon.
There was once a drive-in just a few kilometres from the new site, but it’s now the site of a hardware store and a construction company.
Though long abandoned, one of the screens there still stands.
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“It was very, very popular in the ’80s,” said Pilon. “I used to work there.”
Saint-Eustache is home to one of the only active drive-in theatres in Quebec. The owners say they were taken aback when Premier François Legault announced last Friday that drive-ins would be allowed to open starting May 29th.
They had been lobbying the government to allow them to open for weeks.
“We were a little surprised in the short notice like that. They’re giving us one week to get ready,” said Brigitte Mathers, president of Ciné-Parc Saint Eustache.
Management is now scrambling to install handwashing stations, getting the snack bar ready for social distancing and making themselves more card-friendly.
“Before, people would always pay cash to come in at the drive-in. Now we’re putting internet at the gate,” explained Mathers.
She said with their five different screens, the Ciné-Parc can usually accommodate more than 3,000 cars. This year, they’ll only allow half of that so there will be enough room between groups.
Mathers said they’re even looking into the possibility of doing drive-in concerts or comedy shows.
“The town Saint Eustache is not so crazy about it,” she said. “I think they’re going to accept maybe two shows this year.”
With many of Hollywood’s summer blockbuster movies postponed because of COVID-19, Pilon and Mathers are both still figuring out which movies they will show.
“I think we’ll go with some classics,” said Pilon.
“Maybe we can bring back old movies like Top Gun or Avatar,” said Mathers.
The Saint-Eustache drive-in will open the weekend of June 5th, according to Mathers. With the flea market on the premises opening this weekend, she said it was too much to handle in one shot.
The indoor stalls of the popular flea market will not be operational, and the outdoor ones will be spaced out.
She said some of the people who rent stalls will need to be cut out, because fewer will be allowed.
“It’s really, really hard,” said Mathers.
Vaudreuil’s drive-in is looking at an early July opening. Both outdoor theatres will offer movies in French and English.
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