Eryl’s Angle: The Drive-In, A Forgotten Goldmine

Written by Eryl McCaffrey August 20, 2011


The couple on your left are swapping spit like it’s going out of style, but a nice veil of fog stands between you and them, so you can focus on the movie and not the tongue twisting. The loner on your right is laughing hysterically at the most inappropriate moments, but you can turn up the dial to blur him out. The lower half quarter of the screen is occasionally blocked out due to the country boy’s ahead who can’t decide what position to park his truck in, but you can adjust your Toyota accordingly. Run- on sentences aside, in theory this is a very uncomfortable way to view movies. But, in reality the Drive-in Movie Theatre provides a unique blend of community, atmosphere and food that is second to none.

I went to The 5 Drive-in, in Oakville this past weekend to watch ‘Crazy, Stupid, Love’ and ‘The Rise of the Planet of the Apes.’ Both of these movies, by the way, were very entertaining and engaging. Even though I arrived after the first feature had already started, I found a great place to park and a great angle to view the movie from. The tickets: 15 dollars, nachos and cheese: 5 dollars, the Drive-in movie-going experience: priceless.  If I had arrived 30 minutes earlier, teens would be playing catch with a Frisbee, and kids would be squealing their way down the park slide and giggling on the swing set.

My boyfriend and I missed out on the pre-show visuals, but the experience still rocked. If you’ve ever been to a Drive- in you’d know that the 1960’s intermission commercials are out-of-this world wacky and packed with sexual innuendos. A talking hot dog that can’t wait to slide into a warm bun? I’m not perverted, but you can’t ignore the comedy gold right there.

You can recline your seat as far as you want without crushing the knobby knees of the giant behind you. You can always sneak in your own treats if you want to avoid spending cash at the snack bar. And you completely control the volume level of the film you’re watching.  Best of all, you get to watch two movies for the price of one in a regular theatre, and you get to do it outside in the summer breeze. My suggestion: bring some fold-out chairs and blankets, open the car windows and pump up the volume to make this movie-going experience truly memorable.

It’s a great way to view the latest blockbusters, but the Drive-In is dying out in contemporary entertainment culture. According to, over four thousand Drive-ins have “gone dark on the North American continent since the boom years.”  The drive and park movie venues are slowly phasing out, but they don’t have to. Before you shut the idea down because you’d rather stick to the traditional movie theatre, try it out. For Canadian Drive-in Movie Theatre listings all across Canada check here

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