Rio Theatre operator cried ‘tears of joy’ with mortgage approved for iconic venue

The Rio Theatre will continue to be a Vancouver landmark.
The Rio Theatre will continue to be a Vancouver landmark. Simon Little/Global News

A campaign to keep the iconic Vancouver theatre open appears to have done its job with help from a Canadian Credit Union.

The Rio Theatre on Broadway and Commercial posted on their website on May 3 that it had received a mortgage from Vancity that would cover most of the costs to save the landmark.

The deadline to #SaveTheRio was Monday, May 7.

READ MORE: Vancouver’s Rio Theatre listed for sale, petition launched to save it

“I actually cried real tears of joy,” Corrine Lea, owner and operator of the Rio Theatre said when the mortgage to save the iconic theatre was approved. “It could’ve been the end of the road if they said no to us, I would not have been in a strong position at all.”

During the campaign the theatre received over $500,000 in donations from people wanting to save the building.

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The venue held multiple events as a way to raise the $3 million needed to keep the theatre alive.

It got the attention of those like writer and director Kevin Smith, who offered himself up for a fundraiser on Mar. 30 and pulled in over $50,000 for the landmark.

WATCH: Director Kevin Smith helps save the Rio Theatre


But Lea explains she’s not completely out of the water.

“It’s not over, I’m so thrilled about the mortgage but it doesn’t mean that’s the end of it,” she said. “There’s still a chunk that we’re needing to raise through investors so there’s still work to do.”

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READ MORE: Rio Theatre campaign given 1 more month to buy the building

Lea said the Rio is going to continue with fundraisers to collect the rest of the money needed, but said she’s received a lot of good feedback that the theatre will be alive and well.

“A lot of people are saying things like, ‘it’s restored their faith in humanity,’” she said. “There’s been so many stories of things shutting down and the city being bought up, so I think everyone’s been wanting a good news story.”