The sun does not set until at least quarter past 9, and the lingering blue light of the summer solstice lights up the sky over Victoria until well into the evening. The University of Victoria parking lot is packed with perfectly spaced-out cars, people shuffling blankets and pillows, with the crack of the occasional pop can punctuating the evening darkness. The tungsten lot lights flicker and turn off as the previews begins to roll on the towering screen.
This could all be a scene from a classic movie, or from the 1950s and 60s heyday of the drive-in theatre. But instead it is part of a resurgence in drive-in movies and drive-in events that have sprung up around the globe as entertainment, gatherings and summer activities shift and evolve to meet the requirements and demands of the new normal during the COVID-19 pandemic.
It was conceived of by Oliver Marler and Brendan Harris just as the pandemic was beginning to take hold, laying off friends, shutting down workplaces and altering the day-to-day of their community. They both took to their extensive network of contacts within Victoria to begin the process of creating Legacy Drive-In and giving back to the community during a time of need. Having partnered with the University of Victoria and local food vendors, navigated the world of movie licensing with studios in Los Angeles and after meeting all the necessary requirements set out by the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control and Vancouver Island Health Authority, the Legacy Drive-In became a reality on June 4 with a sold-out showing of Steven Spielberg’s Hook. Since then, it has been sold out weekend after weekend.
With plans in the works to operate until October, and other local communities reaching out to request screens and locations in their area, the old drive-in model has found new life during trying times.
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