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Muskoka drive-in raising money to go digital

BT Toronto | posted Tuesday, Mar 18th, 2014

The Muskoka Drive-In is reaching out to the community for contributions in its efforts to go digital.

William Alexander, the owner of the drive-in, launched the crowd-funding campaign onFundrazr.com on March 14.

He said the drive-in is the only one remaining in northern Ontario, north of Orillia, and “we have to go digital.”

“Film is dwindling and one company has already stopped making film prints, Paramount, and so now we definitely have to go digital,” Alexander told CityNews on Monday.

He spoke from a movie set in Parry Sound with Chevy Chase and Tom Arnold, where he said he was “working on the crew, trying to get some money in.”

Alexander said he was trying to get support from existing and new drive-in fans.

“So we’re looking to try and get our support from our customers and people who would support a drive-in or maybe haven’t heard of us who want to come to the drive-in because we cover such a large area now.”

Installing a digital system will cost between $50,000 to $60,000. He’s looking at raising money for about half of that since he already has funds lined up for the rest of the project. So far, the campaign has received $1,882 (or six per cent) of his $30,000 goal.

Alexander said any extra money they receive over $30,000 will go towards purchasing a second digital projector at the drive-in.

He also said he has reached out to car companies, as well as dealerships in northern Ontario, to see what they can do to help.

The campaign ends on April 30. Anyone who makes a donation online can choose a perk as well, such as vouchers or T-shirts.

Click here for more information and how to donate.

The drive-in, which is located in Gravenhurst, opened in 1952, and along with the Port Hope drive-in in Cobourg, are one of the oldest drive-ins in Canada. Other drive-ins, located in Huntsville, Timmins, Orillia and North Bay, have closed.

The drive-in is not just a staple in the community, but has also sponsored many events in the area, like Cancer Relay for Life, Ronald McDonald House and Big Brothers Big Sisters.

Alexander said the drive-in has a key distinctive feature that speaks to its uniqueness.

“It is a cement screen that is built on top of a giant rock that exists on a property — that area is all rocky towards the back of the screen — and part of the rock is actually a part of the screen, hence why we on our logo, it says ‘Meet You at the Rock’,” he said.

Alexander also said he is proud of the drive-in’s progress after rebuilding.

“We’re marching forward very proudly because the drive-in for many years was allowed to run down, and we’ve taken over the last five years, we’ve been building it back up again,” he said.

“Last year, we have a phenomenal year, but it just wasn’t enough to get us over the hump because there were so many slow years in rebuilding the brand of the drive-in,” he added.

When’s the last time you were at a drive-in? Would you go?

With files from Patricia D’Cunha, CityNews.ca

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