Towne Theatre – Vernon, BC
Suite A-2910 30 Ave
The cinema in which Projection Project co-founder Curtis Emde first saw some of the most beloved films of his childhood. It was an especially interesting day, therefore, when the Projection Project visited this Main Street, Vernon BC theatre and he was able to explore the mysterious upstairs areas of a place whose downstairs he had visited many times in the past (and had even once – unsuccessfully – applied for a job there) – it was like discovering a previously overlooked chapter of a favourite novel.
A former dance hall, the building became The Capitol cinema in the 1930s and screened films continuously throughout the decades (changing its name to The Towne along the way) until closing temporarily in the late 1980s (around the same time Vernon lost its drive-in, the Skyway). A re-invigorated Towne eventually re-opened, screening midnight movies on weekends and offering second-run fair at very reasonable prices. Current owner Gerry Sellars invested in digital projection equipment relatively early on. Since he has a sizeable projection room, he was able to retain the Towne’s 35 mm projector – something not always possible in the often cramped confines of projection booths. The Towne is also home to the Vernon Film Society and at one time it had the largest screen in the North Okanagan.