September 3, 2020

By: Karisa Simon

Ever since I was a little girl, I loved going to the movie theatre with my family on the weekend. I was always so excited to see the large movie posters on the walk into the theatre, smell buttery popcorn in the concession area, sit in front of the gigantic movie screen and battle to keep my eyes open once it was past my bedtime. With Ontario movie theatres reopening to the public after months of closure, I want to share my experience of attending Oakville’s friendly neighbourhood theatre, Film.ca.

Film.ca is located in Kerr Village and is locally owned. This theatre provides an affordable alternative to big movie theatre conglomerates by screening big movies at small prices. I heard many positive things about this theatre and their involvement within the Oakville community, so I was naturally eager to check it out.

I was a little worried about going to the theatre during this time, but I was comfortable with attending after reading up on Film.ca’s safety measures.

What to expect:

My family and I attended the theatre on a weekday to watch the long-awaited sci-fi action film, Tenet. Film.ca beams with a retro aesthetic. From its large theatrical neon marquee to the ushers' uniforms, it pays homage to the true look and feel of 50’s-style movie theatres.

I bought our tickets online, as directed by Film.ca’s website, and we arrived 15 minutes prior to the movie. When we entered the facility, we were greeted by a hand sanitizer dispenser. We proceeded to the theatre and noticed an employee sanitizing a nearby area. Seeing this employee sanitizing surfaces nearby, and following employee safety procedures by wearing his mask, truly comforted my slight COVID-19 paranoia. Before COVID-19 this may have been categorized as a small task, but during this unprecedented time, it gave me all the comfort in the world to know that Film.ca cared for our safety. There was another hand sanitizer dispenser as we entered the theatre, so we sanitized our hands again.

After we went to our seats, which was in an alternate row separated by three seats from the next movie-watcher, I went to the concession stand to explore. The food options were great and there were hilarious floor stickers that mapped out appropriate distancing for customers in line.

When it comes to eating in the theatre, it’s all up to how comfortable you are with the idea of removing your mask inside a public facility. Though customers are allowed to remove their mask to eat once seated and Film.ca uses Ultramist Fogging Systems to decontaminate all of their theatres, my family and I preferred to keep our masks on for the duration of the film. We were perfectly comfortable and when the movie was over, we were greeted with hand sanitizer again.

Small differences, same nostalgic feeling:

Overall, I did not find my experience of attending a movie at a theatre during COVID-19 much different from my pre-COVID-19 experiences. Besides wearing a mask and not eating snacks, I found everything else the same and got the experience that I wanted. I saw the large movie posters on the walk into the theatre, smelled buttery popcorn in the concession area and I sat in front of the gigantic movie screen. I am happy that my family and I got out and had fun relaxing at a local theatre. In my opinion, everyone's family deserves the opportunity to have a great movie-going experience and Film.ca is the perfect place to do so.

Remember to familiarize yourselves with Film.ca’s health and safety practices before going to the theatre. Here is a rundown:

Safety practices

  • Practice social distancing - Maintain distance between one another, follow guides throughout the theatre
  • Coughing/sneezing - If needed, do so into elbow
  • Frequently wash your hands - Wash for at least 20 seconds and use hands sanitizer liberally
  • Wear a mask - Everyone is required to wear one inside building, but are allowed to remove to eat food once seated, mask are sold if forgotten

Symptom-free policy

  • Please stay home if you are experiencing any symptoms of COVID-19 ( fever, cough, sore throat, difficulty breathing), travelled internationally within 14 days or have any flu-like symptom

Enhanced cleaning

  • Utilizing Ultramist Fogging Systems to disinfect cinemas, washroom, lobby and other common areas
  • Dedicated sanitation manager on each shift

Cinema seating

  • Reserved seating is mandatory
  • Buy tickets and choose seating on website or app (coming soon)
  • Rows are alternated and seats are gapped in threes for members of the same family or social circle
  • Showtimes have been decreased

Tickets and concessions

  • Tickets are available for purchase online and at the concession stand following safety measures
  • There will be a mobile app coming soon where ticket and food purchases can be made

Arrival time

  • Arrive no earlier than 15 min before starting time
  • Customers must wait outside until seating time

Washrooms

  • Alternated urinals are provided
  • Follow handwashing instructions

After movie

  • Exit by row
  • Ensure mask is on
  • Follow proper signage as exiting the building