May 27, 2014 2:54 am
Updated: May 27, 2014 8:40 am

Burnaby’s Dolphin Theatre fades to black Tuesday

WATCH: Burnaby’s last independent theatre, the Dolphin, is closing forever on Tuesday. Aaron Mcarthur reports.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is playing this week at the Dolphin Cinemas, a Burnaby institution for nearly 50 years.

But Tuesday’s showing will be the last ever at the theatre, marking the end of the Burnaby’s last independent theatre.

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Its story is a sequel of sorts also – a small Metro Vancouver theatre making way for a mixed-development building, with housing up top and commercial space on the ground.

MORE: Ridge Theatre ready for the last reel

“It’s going to be leveled. It’ll be turned into some condos, some commercial underneath,” said Rahim Manji, who has operated the Dolphin since 2010.

In recent years the Hollywood, Ridge, and Denman theatres have all been shut down in Vancouver, victims of rising property values and declining attendance numbers.

Manji says it was much the same for him. While the owners have been very generous in keeping the rent low, ultimately people showed up for the theatre’s Toonie Tuesday promotion – but didn’t come out in large enough numbers the other six days of the week.

“What sets us apart is we’re here for families. We make sure the price point is not breaking your bank,” says Manji.

“If there’s not enough people though, things like the Dolphin will shut down. We’ve been getting phone calls from people saying their first movie was at this theatre, their first date was at this theatre, their first kiss was at this theatre.”

Manji’s other theatres in Port Moody and Surrey will stay open. But after Tuesday, the Dolphin will be no more.

“It’s unfortunate,” he says.

“We’re a big family, we all know them by face, by name. It is a big neighbourhood theatre, and that’s what you want to be.”

© Shaw Media, 2014

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