Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

The Legacy Drive-In on the UVic Campus in Victoria, British Columbia is pictured on June 20, 2020.

James MacDonald/The Globe and Mail

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.

Julia Macartney greets drivers, scanning them in with touchless tickets.

James MacDonald/James MacDonald

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.

The semi-permanent screen at Legacy is planned to be up until October, offering movies and events to the school and community throughout the coming months.

James MacDonald/The Globe and Mail

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.

Story continues below advertisement

Legacy is just one of many drive-in theatres that have popped up as businesses and entertainment shift to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions.

James MacDonald/The Globe and Mail

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.

We have a weekly Western Canada newsletter written by our B.C. and Alberta bureau chiefs, providing a comprehensive package of the news you need to know about the region and its place in the issues facing Canada. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error Editorial code of conduct
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies