Local fans of the silver screen know what a top notch movie house the Royal Theatre is.
Now the rest of the country will know as well, because the downtown Trail cinema has been recognized as one of the Top 10 movie theatres in Canada by Chatelaine magazine.
Up against thousands of others, including huge urban multiplexes, the Royal Theatre placed an impressive #7.
“Chatelaine reached out to us at the beginning of December to let us know they were writing an article on the 10 best movie theatres in the country and that we were on the list,” Lisa Milne, owner of the Royal Theatre, shared.
“We are thrilled with this achievement,” she said. “And when the list came out, and only had three true independent theatres on it, we were pretty humbled. To be recognized for this has been terrific.”
On the heels of this good news story, is an unsettling one that Milne and her staff are still reeling from. Back in October the theatre was broken into, property was stolen, and the interior vandalized.
So national recognition of just how wonderful the Royal Theatre is, came at a time they all really needed a boost of confidence.
“As you can imagine the tail-end of 2018, with the break-in, has been pretty devastating for not just for me but my staff as well,” Milne said.
“I have doubled up on staff when I don’t need to, just to ensure no one is working alone,” she revealed.
“To have our sense of security taken away from us in just one night has been harder then I would have thought. The Royal Theatre prides itself on being a safe family environment so to be recognized in an article like this helps to reinforce our vision to provide the best movie experience for our patrons.”
Throughout the year, there’s always something to see on the Bay Avenue screen, no matter the age.
From matinees for families to the more mature audience, independent films to block busters, even live productions from the Met Opera, Bolshoi ballet and New York or London stage – that’s just a short list of the Royal’s line-up.
“Next year will be 10 years we have owned the Royal Theatre and we are proud to have taken this journey with Greater Trail movie patrons,” Milne said.
“There’s more to come for the Royal in the future – so stay tuned and see what this old gal still has up her sleeve!”
In her list of Top 10 movie theatres in Canada, Chatelaine author Rachel Chen describes how hard the Royal Theatre strives to be community-oriented. (Chen’s list is available only online)
“The indie Royal Theatre works hard at maintaining its tradition of engagement with the community,” Chen writes.
“For example, it hosts a ‘baby-friendly’ showing of PG+ movies on Tuesdays at noon,” she notes.
“Raising the house lights, turning down the sound, and offering stroller parking so parents can enjoy an adult movie without the glare of disapproving strangers for bringing your baby to the theatre.
“With or without a baby, the Royal’s EZ Tuesday prices for all showings are a real score at only $10 for your ticket, real buttered popcorn, and a drink.”
The Royal Theatre was up against some stiff competition, including the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto, which placed second. This place hosts the biggest movie stars for the annual Toronto International Film Festival and features five screens, two restaurants, and a film reference library.
However,the number one movie theatre on Chen’s list is another B.C. cinema – The Patricia Theatre in Powell River.
Cineplex Cinemas Seton and VIP in Calgary came in third, followed by Cinema du Parc in Montreal, The Park Theatre in Clear Lake Manitoba, and Cineplex Cinemas Yonge-Dundas in Toronto.
Then there is the Royal Theatre in Trail at number seven, followed by Scotiabank Theatre in Toronto and the Landmark West Kelowna, Xtreme in West Kelowna. Closing the top ten of Chen’s list is the Rio Theatre in Vancouver.