drive in theatre

Cadillac Fairview is turning mall parking lots into drive-in movie theatres

The parking lot of your local mega-mall could soon be one of the hottest date night spots around in this, the era of social distancing.

Cadillac Fairview, which owns Toronto's Eaton Centre, Sherway Gardens, Fairview Mall and The Shops at Don Mills, among other major Canadian shopping centres, just piloted a new program that's perfectly in line with what society needs right now: Safe entertainment.

"Movie Night at CF" saw the sprawling parking lot surrounding CF Markville in Markham, Ontario, just north of Toronto, transformed into a drive-in movie theatre on June 26 and 27 for frontline workers, mall employees and newsletter subscribers.

About 60 vehicles attended the pop-up drive-in each evening to watch Smallfoot and The Goonies.

Staff delivered bags of popcorn provided by Kernels directly to cars during what turned out to be a successful event for CF Markville — and proof of concept for a program that the mall's owner hopes to roll out across more of its properties.

Cadillac Fairview Vice-President of Marketing Craig Flannagan told Retail Insider this week that the project will be rolled out at additional CF malls, but no specific locations or dates have yet been revealed.

It's safe to say something of the sort would be popular at any GTA shopping centre (Eaton Centre notwithstanding, since it doesn't have an outdoor parking lot.)

Regular cinemas remain closed in Ontario for the time being as the province moves through Stage 2 of the government's economic recovery plan. Drive-in theatres, however, are permitted to operate as they do a great job of keeping guests physically separated from each other.

Those who can't wait to watch movies in a mall parking lot can visit a whole host of other drive-in theatres near or in Toronto, many of them newly-created specifically to accommodate film-lovers en masse without the fear of spreading COVID-19.

Lead photo by

Cadillac Fairview


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