Barrie Film Festival Still Has a Home Despite City Hall Downtown Project Go-Ahead

"It could be, hopefully, a number of years," Film Fest Director Says

Barrie City Council gave the final approval to a series of by-law exemptions allowing for a pair of highrises to be built along Dunlop and Mary Streets. This means the eventual demolition of the Uptown Theatre, the home of the Barrie Film Festival.

But not quite yet.

“It feels different in there, but it’s still business as usual for us,” says Claudine Benoit, Director of the Barrie Film Festival, “it’s still a good movie experience, you can still get your popcorn.”

“We actually lease the space, screens One and Two, so we will be given ample notice before we move on,” adds Benoit, “a lot of developments take time to happen, and they are planning around us, I understand, so we will be there as long as we can.”

Pair of Highrises Expected to Eventually Replace Uptown Theatre and the Block On Which it Sits

“It could be, hopefully, a number of years, but we continue to look at future solutions, and we’ll see what comes of all these conversations with various people.” Benoit points out the upcoming Fisher Auditorium a few blocks west could be a possible solution.

Related: Major Hurdle Surpassed in Downtown Barrie Development

“It’s part of that nostalgic feeling, isn’t it, watching a movie in an old theatre.” reminisced Benoit, “I don’t know about you, but some of my earliest memories of movie-going are at the Imperial 8 Cinemas, which is what the Uptown used to be called.”

The project that will eventually replace the theatre and much of the structures there now includes two 30-storey towers built atop a 7-storey podium. It would see commercial space along the ground floors, with residential units towering above.