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It’s time to screen again at The Plaza Theater in Kensington

by Stewart Cole

One of Calgary’s most beloved historic movie theaters reopened on Friday after a major lobby renovation and some new additions.

The Plaza Theater had closed earlier due to the pandemic and was under construction since July 2021 under new ownership.

“When it first closed, I was so upset that they would take it out of this neighborhood and the apartments would go up instead. We are excited that it works and works,” said Amy Alexander, a resident of the area. “I think it’s the core of Kensington, and without that Kensington would not be the same.”

First built as a garage in 1927, the structure just off Kensington Road NW first served as a theater in 1935.

In addition to movie screenings, the site will feature a permanent food truck in front with alternating local chefs offering food that moviegoers can bring.

“As a one-screen cinema, it’s really hard to survive on tickets alone. So your concession should really work for you, and we were trying to figure out what we could do as a Plaza that set us apart from our competitors,” he said. Fatima Allie Dobrowolski, the new owner.

The lobby is now a bubble gum and dusty rose pink dip as refurbished coffee with coffee and delicacies from local providers such as Phil & Sebastian’s Coffee, Our Daily Brett, Empire Provisions, among others.

The venue also includes a bar for cocktails and craft beers before or after the screening of the cinema.

“We were really impressed with how everyone really talked about The Plaza as the center of the community. People have gotten married here or had events here or seen their first movie here and that’s really special,” Dobrowolski said.

CTV News met a couple who got married in the building in 2019.

“We made movie posters, we had a movie trailer for our wedding. It’s a very special location for us,” said Zach Trolley.

“It’s been a staple in the neighborhood for years. Being able to walk and watch a movie in your neighborhood is great,” said Connor McManus.

The Kensington Business Improvement Area says the return of the theater is a bright spot for the area.

“We are a destination and the reopening of The Plaza has contributed immensely to the prosperity of this entire business district,” said Annie MacInnis, CEO.

The first film to be screened in the space is Belfast followed by Dune.

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