Some things about the Clova Cinema have changed over the years; as it passed from owner to owner, it has been a video-rental shop, a youth centre, and a stage for live performances. But despite its numerous incarnations, the rich red facades, the art-deco decorations, and the bright marquee have remained proudly in place. These features hearken all the way back to the theatre's 1947 opening, when Humphrey Bogart dominated the screen and popcorn was popped in gleaming machines instead of Buick-sized microwaves. Now, the cinema's single screen flickers to life with weekly evening and weekend matinee showings of current releases. The theatre is rife with family touches, from the real butter on the popcorn to Cupcake the dog, who is on hand at matinees to entertain guests before the show and sniff out unsilenced cell phones.
For more than 45 years, Simon Fraser University has nurtured the talents of student-athletes who have gone on to achieve great things in either aspect of that role, producing Rhodes Scholars and Olympians alike. Since winning its first championship in 1972—swimming and diving in men's NAIA—the Clan has claimed victory in more than 50 National NAIA or CIS championships in such sports as skiing, women's basketball, and women's wrestling. Each year, rather than honouring its athletes as in other schools' age-old traditions—sending them off on an ice floe to fight the Soviets—SFU bestows an outstanding male and female each with a highland sgian dubh, a traditional Gaelic weapon that symbolizes courage, respect, and loyalty.
In 2006, a small group of women met over a plate of nachos to discuss a dream that they shared: launching Vancouver's first all-women roller derby league. Seven years later, the Terminal City Rollergirls has blossomed into a flat-track institution, with more than 60 active participants, four full teams, and its own training program that teaches aspiring competitors the tricks of the trade. The league's teams— the Riot Girls, the Bad Reputations, the Faster Pussycats, and Public Frenemy—square off in bouts overseen by Terminal City's in-house referees, who call major fouls by putting players in the penalty box and recognize good play by throwing smiley-faced stickers into the crowd.
Now that it has been fully restored, the Rio Theatre immediately recalls the splendour of its grand opening in 1938. Hiding behind the old-fashioned aesthetics, however, are a digital HD projector and surround-sound speakers that immerse filmgoers in an eclectic array of first-run blockbusters and cinema classics. Showing films again as of April 2012, the theatre’s movie selection ranges from sci-fi and horror to wholesome family films, though the program coalesces around a love for pop culture that the owners share with their most ardent fans.
Aside from the daily show times, cult classics—frequently in their original 35 mm form—screen at midnight on Fridays. Guests from all walks of life come out to these packed showings, where they can snack on popcorn made with real butter or win prizes for dressing in costume as their favourite character or key grip. The 420-seat theatre also hosts concerts and events throughout the year, including past performances by Janeane Garofalo and local musicians Bend Sinister.
On September 9, 1979, more than 100,000 Whitecaps fans lined Robson Street to salute their hometown club. That day, the Whitecaps returned home after becoming Vancouver's first professional sports team to win a major North American championship: they had just defeated the Tampa Bay Rowdies to claim the North American Soccer League title.
Since that first one, the franchise has won six additional titles–including four in a row from 1988–1991 while playing as the 86ers in the Canadian Soccer League. In fact, the club competed under that 86ers moniker until 2000. That year, spurred by public support and an unexplainable 'Caps logo beamed into the night sky, it re-emerged under its original Whitecaps identity. Today, the 21st-century incarnation of the club continues to battle for its first championship as part of Major League Soccer, where it began play in 2011.
Foreign, classic, and Canadian films light up the big screen at Pacific Cinémathèque, a 194-seat theatre recognized by the Vancouver Sun as the best art-house and foreign-film venue in 2009. Established as a film society almost four decades ago, the movie palace has since flourished into a polestar for under-the-radar films, showcasing lesser-known works and cinematic icons alike during single and double billings six nights a week. In an effort to enhance Vancouver's cinematic culture without transplanting the Hollywood sign to the top of One Wall Centre, the theatre is also home to several educational opportunities including a film reference library and the West Coast Film Archive, which preserves the legacy of independent filmmaking on Canada's west coast.