We’ve Gotta Get A Mainstream Movie Theatre Back Downtown

Here is my problem. I want to go see Scott Pilgrim Verses The World tonight. But it’s only playing at the Galaxy. Which is basically located in Saskatoon. So, I’m not going unless I can bum a ride or cave and take a cab for $20 (I live in the centre of Regina, just south of downtown).

Sigh. If only we had mainstream downtown theatres. Like, you know, the Capitol (demolished 1992), the Coronet (demolished 2005) or the Cornwall Cinemas (now a lame mall-basement discount department store, an anemic reminder of the excellent discount department store that was Army and Navy. Which oh yeah was demolished).

Note: no lectures about how I can see This Movie Is Broken at the RPL, please. I’m not a big Broken Social Scene fan. Nothing personal. Besides I wanna see Scott Pilgrim because that’s how this nerd rolls

Author: Stephen Whitworth

Prairie Dog editor Stephen Whitworth was carried to Regina in a swarm of bees. He's been with Prairie Dog since May 1999 and will die at his keyboard before admitting his career a terrible, terrible mistake.

22 thoughts on “We’ve Gotta Get A Mainstream Movie Theatre Back Downtown”

  1. If by “god forbid” you mean “transit system discourages,” then yes — especially when you’re trying to plan a trip around the end time of a late show.

  2. With bus service every hour after 9 p.m. Paul that shouldn’t be too hard. Sure, it might mean you have to cut out of the movie a few minutes early to catch the bus. Or else hang around the theatre for 40 or 50 minutes afterwards until the next bus comes. And if you do happen to miss the last bus at 11:45 p.m., just take a cab. $20 or so should get you back downtown. Of course, if you wanted to see a movie on a Sunday you’d pretty much have to cab it both ways as the last bus for Normanview leaves downtown at 6:35 p.m. And on Stat holidays there’s no service so you’d be looking at $40 plus in cab fare there and back.

  3. When the Capitol, Coronet, and Cornwall Cinemas WERE open, weren’t the transit logistics the same for people who didn’t live downtown, or close to it? Not to mention the RPL Film Theatre, then and now?

  4. Because we have a shitty transit system –one that’s gotten progressively shittier over the last 20 years.

  5. However, the ends of cities are typically designed around the expectation that everyone will have access to a car. (Which isn’t to say everyone does. And the number of people on this city’s fringe that are car-less will likely climb if we continue the pattern of apartment-block construction that established itself last year.)

    All I’m saying is the transit schedule does a pretty good job of shuttling people around during the peak hours on work days. But it’s of limited use during your recreation time. (No transit service on Canada Day?! How’s that encouraging a cohesive city?)

    Hey. I’d love to go to the north end more. It has things I can’t get in the city centre. Like a hardware store. But I don’t go to the north end because I don’t have a car. Or… erm… wait. Scratch that. I guess I should say, up until yesterday, I didn’t have a car. (Got to get used to this new car-having state of mine.)

    So, I guess I’ll be shopping at Koko a whole lot more often. (Mmmmm. Baguettes.)

    Anyway, I don’t think anyone is saying, screw the north end, tear down the Galaxy and rebuild it downtown. No, I think what we’re hoping for, with all this downtown revitalization and condo tower construction and whatnot, is that someone will come along and put up a decent mainstream theatre in the core not just because a few of us downtown want one, but also because this city’s film buffs are generally underserved at present.

    And I think Steve was whiny because he didn’t get to see Scott Pilgrim and the way it’s boxoffice numbers are shaping up it could leave Regina by Monday.

  6. Having used the transit system – every bus route except Heritage – more or less intensively for going on 20 years, I’m less inclined than Mr. Beatty to condemn the whole thing because he finds it complicated to get to and from the Galaxy. “Shitty” is relative, as perhaps those now able to access transit through the discount bus pass (which was established, what, 5 years ago?) might testify.

    Using transit requires a certain amount of planning – like going to an earlier movie showing (or to the Sunday matinee performance at the Globe Theatre), which amazingly no one here has mentioned. And yes, it would be nice not to have to walk/cab home after the end of the Folk Festival, or the late show at the RPL. Critical mass, I reiterate, will require it.

    Something tells me that nobody downtown cared 2 hoots about the lack of convenient movie theatres for the folks in Normanview or Albert Park, so what this is really about is whose ox is being gored.

  7. Um, I won’t speak for anyone else, but yes, damn straight, if you live in the northeast and don’t have a car I suspect you are really screwed if you want to go to a movie on a Sunday. And that’s a big problem. Mind you, a theatre downtown would help folk in the northeast because of its status as the main transit hub. No need for a transfer.

    But you know who I really worry about are the seniors who will be living in that new seniors apartment complex that’s being built out on Vic East. At the time of its approval it didn’t even have complete sidewalk access to a busstop. I guess you could say they’ll have great walking access to shopping what with all the big-box supermarkets and stores around (although, I think the developers were being very optimistic about how easy it is to cross one of those big-box parking lots as a pedestrian). But as for their entertainment options, they’ll be severely limited.

  8. Gasp! You got a car! Whatever will Dr. Suzuki say??

    #9: lol. Does anyone recall the 2 letters I wrote pd to correct their persistent mislocation of Argyle Park? (You guys thought it was in the “inner city”.)
    You know, maybe this is a new dogblog poll almost writing itself: What would you like to see happen in the next phase of downtown redevelopment? (Grocery store; mainstream theatre; more buskers; a proper heated transit terminal, etc.)

  9. Let’s not even get into what an integrated, accessible transit system could do to prevent impaired driving, because who wants drunk people on the bus?

  10. I’ve used the transit system consistently for the last 25 years, Barb, so I feel I’m relatively qualified to comment on its merits. I’m also relatively qualified to comment on how service has deteriorated over that time. Up until the mid-90s or so, there was evening service on the half hour. Reducing that to one bus an hour is a huge hit for anyone who might contemplate relying regularly on public transit. There used to be relatively direct routes to and from the downtown to outlying areas of the city too. Now, virtually every route offers you a scenic tour of entire subdivisions before you get to a hub like Southland Mall or Victoria Square. Of course it comes down to critical mass, which Regina has precious little of. That’s how all the cuts were justified in the first place.

  11. Barb, please don’t tell David about my car. I’m embarrassed enough as it is.

    As for your poll, despite the subject of the OP, I’m going to have say, grocery store first, proper bus terminal second, theatre third. Buskers, I’m hoping, will just kind of wander in of their own accord.

  12. You put a grocery store and useful transit infrastructure downtown, you’ll get your movie theatre.
    When I was living downtown, you couldn’t even _rent_ a movie in the area.

  13. Barb – why is it that you do not acknowledge bringing these topics to light as important? You try to rip and pull at every progressive thought that is put on this blog and cite “critical mass” as the necessity as a means of discounting what positive ideas are presented.

    I do not disagree with the need, but unless someone is to shine a bit of light on these topics there will be no critical mass (I think at present that there is mass but it is diffuse in nature) – these types of discussions help us to focus our visions of hope for a more vibrant future and I don’t get why you constantly shit on this method of discussion.

  14. Paul: mum’s the word, I promise you.
    Mr. Beatty: the scenic tours are for the purpose of increasing ridership from these subdivisions. Transit has policies in re: trying to have effective coverage of the city, as well as express routes. Neither is a complete reality yet, although the non-downtown feeder routes, and the University – SIAST specials (which resumed today) are steps in that direction. As you live right across the street from your workplace, maybe you’d spare a thought for those who don’t, and who have different transit needs than you do.
    Mr. Matheson: too late; the drunks are already on the bus, some as early as 9 a.m.
    PRL: if you read with care, you would know that I don’t shit on ideas or methods of discussion; I challenge unrelieved negativity. As to critical mass, I think you may be confusing it with “overwhelming numbers”. It refers to the minimum numbers/materials needed to start and maintain an operation/reaction. Starting is good, but maintaining is the part that counts. To cite a transit example, the aforementioned campus specials came about because of critical mass, and revisions to the service came about as a response to same. Of course discussions like we’re having now are an important part of building critical mass, and “discussion” doesn’t mean that everyone will agree or will be able to see beyond their own case and consider other viewpoints.

  15. I for one would be happy with even a second-run mainstream movie theatre downtown. My magic 8-ball tell me that if there were to be a new mainstream theatre, signs point to yes for the east end.

  16. Well, the obvious solution is to require a movie theatre to be built in every subdivision for each 500 occupants. /sarcasm. Or you know, for people to stop hyperventilating and conflating “high-density” with “slums”.

  17. Sorry, that was kinda bitchy. I’ve forgotten my lunch today, so I’m not in the greatest mood.

    Having lower taxes on the outskirts of the city will encourage business which require a large footprint to move there. I’m not sure how to solve the dearth of downtown cinemas though; perhaps having smaller theatres with tax breaks? They do add a lot of night-time traffic, something that is needed in an area of the city that’s vacated every day at 5 pm. However, if the area isn’t perceived to be safe, less people will go to the theatre, making the neighbourhood even less safe.

    As for the Vic East development, now that’s just unfortunate. Those big box areas are only “walkable” if you’re young, able-bodied and wearing safety gear.

  18. Also, my heart bleeds for those downtown (and already half way there from my Hillsdale perspective) if they are taking the #3 bus. Sure, you won’t be able to get home by bus after the movie, but, wait, what was my point again? Oh yeah, the bus service is lame compared to another Canadian city’s service I’ve used (and it manages to be better than Yorkton for some reason).

    People defending our transit system’s current situation are either unaware of reasonable service levels that make public transit work well, or have a vested interest in turning a blind eye.

    The movie theatre situation is less dire, but I do miss a Hollywood theatre downtown.

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