An iconic independent theater in Calgary’s Kensington neighborhood will reopen to the public Friday after a long hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Plaza Hotel, first built in 1935, has been in a renovation project since last August. The theater closed its doors in August 2020 after struggling financially during the early days of the pandemic, and the space was made available for rental soon after.
Since then, new long-term tenants have announced that they will revitalize the theatre. The Plaza was originally scheduled to open last September.
The supply chain issues of COVID-19 have been a challenge. “Things we didn’t think would take so long to arrive, they took so long to arrive,” said Fatma Ally Dobroolsky, a long-term renter.
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She wanted a place where the people of Calgary could mingle while watching movies.
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The theater will feature new food and beverage options, as well as a café and bar. A permanent food truck will also be set up outside the building, and the chefs will rotate every three months to provide a variety of patrons.
“This is very different from what Calgary has seen so far,” Dobroolsky said. “Although it took a while, everyone was really on board and helped get us where we are.”
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When it comes to programming, she said that hasn’t changed. Many members of the community associate The Plaza with high-quality movies, and Dobrowolski wanted to keep this aspect of the theater alive. The theater will show classic films and new releases.
Dobrowolski also hopes to host collaborative events in the future with the film industry and university film programs.
“We want people to be patient while they discover our shows,” she said.
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