The Saga of the Hollywood Theatre: From Cinema to Church to Fitness Centre

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Courtesy of the Church at the Hollywood

Courtesy of the Church at the Hollywood

It has been a sad year for Kitsilano’s single screen movie theatres. The Ridge Theatre was lost to condo development and Fifth Avenue Cinema went from being independently owned to becoming part of the Cineplex group. Now, a similar fate awaits the Hollywood Theatre.

According to the Metro News, a development permit application was submitted on September 5 to turn what was once a 651-seat, single-screen theatre at 3123 West Broadway into a two-storey fitness centre.

The Hollywood Theatre was bought by Bonnis Properties in 2011 and sat empty and neglected for almost a year. The Point Grey Community Church now known as the Church at the Hollywood rented the 78-year old space in September 2012.

The church members got to work and spruced up the Hollywood to accommodate its congregation as well as community events and movie screenings with various partner organizations like the Kitsilano Neighbourhood House and the Vancouver Heritage Foundation.

But two weeks ago, Bonnis Properties gave the church notice its month-to-month lease will be cancelled and the church must vacate by November 30.

Sarah Kift, a representative of the church, mentioned that she is heart-broken but that she always knew something like this could happen.

“It is not the building itself but what it represents: built in 1935 as a space where people could gather to enjoy movies, it has become in its 78 year history, a place where shared stories and experiences, rites of passage (first dates, first kisses, first films, first jobs, etc) and community engagement have become cherished and continually valued in the minds and hearts of so many Vancouverites.”

Sunday services will continue as scheduled while the church looks for a new home. The Hollywood will host one last movie series in October and November with the Vancouver Heritage Foundation before it closes its doors forever.

Last modified: October 10, 2013

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