Nonprofit hopes to save 1930s cinema

March 2, 2017 by  

Westdale Cinema Group is hoping its offer to purchase and restore a local theatre will be accepted.

The Hamilton-based Westdale Theatre was listed for sale last December, with an asking price just under $1.8m. An offer was made to purchase the theatre, with the intention of using the location for a different purpose. The nonprofit Westdale Cinema Group, formed by Fred Fuchs and Bob Crockford, realized it had to act fast, and submitted an offer to purchase and restore the classic theatre.

Originally, this project was the dream of Fred Fuchs, who has spent his career working in film. His involvement has inspired the Hamilton Ward 1 City Councillor, Aidan Johnson, to pursue a heritage designation for the theatre.

Currently, the Westdale Theatre hosts independent film premieres, and several annual Hamilton Film Festivals. In the future, Fuchs hopes to expand the theatre’s use, to include attractions for students, from elementary and secondary schools, as well as from McMaster University. To promote the theatre, local marketing services will likely be asked to print brochures, flyers and posters.

The Westdale Theatre was originally built in 1936, and currently seats 475. The planned restoration will cost an estimated $1m, and will provide a more upscale environment, with seating downsized to 400.

The Westdale Cinema Group hopes to have its offer finalized in April of this year. This will result in the theatre being preserved for another 50 years.