The Kitchener-Waterloo Symphony was founded out of necessity; in 1945, the Grand Philharmonic Choir was preparing a recital and needed tuneful accompaniment for the harmonic voices. Once its backup duty was over, however, the newly convened orchestra quickly established itself as an independent source for both classical and pops concerts performing more than 100 concerts annually in the Waterloo region. Now home to 52 on-staff musicians, the orchestra continues its decades-long tradition at venues around Kitchener, Waterloo, Guelph, and Cambridge. From his position as music director, Edwin Outwater oversees the joyful noise, which ranges from baroque to Beethoven to the Beatles and Broadway. Since assuming the role in 2007, Outwater has been one of the orchestra's most vigorous boosters, arranging the group's first commercial recording in a decade, engineering an exploration of prog rock in collaboration with the Institute for Quantum Computing, and knitting sweaters for each musician's instrument.
During Reel Babies movie showings, theatres transform into child-friendly arenas where new parents can enjoy recent releases while tending to tykes. Empire Theatres keeps the auditorium lights dim and lowers the volume on new films such as Our Idiot Brother, One Day, and The Debt, ensuring an environment conducive to child-care. Parents can transport their mini-me to the auditorium's "exersaucer", baby swing, and play mat, allowing young minds to expend energy otherwise spent solving Fermat's Last Theorem. Additionally, a changing table and bottle warmer ensures parents can remain in the theatre for all reunion scenes between protagonists and their coffee makers.
As its name implies, MovieTime outfits its clients with countless classic films and new releases, though its technicians also fine-tune computers, consoles, and media devices of all types and models. Shoppers entertain themselves with Hindi and Punjabi comedies, romances, dramas, and thrillers, or convert dusty VHS tapes and 35mm slideshows into easy-to-access DVDs with customized menus and music sequences. Electronics whizzes clean viruses from infected systems, hook computers into networks, and recover lost data from damaged servers, tapes, or hard drives. Gaming experts render nearly any modern-generation console as good as new—bringing motion sensing capabilities back to the Wii through laser-lens replacements, or removing an Xbox's Red Ring of Death through a careful curse-lifting procedure.
At Rainbow Cinemas & Magic Lantern Theatres, darkened auditoriums with flickering screens draw audiences into magical worlds where fish can talk, motorcycles leap canyons, and love comes even for those who eat crackers in bed. The auditoriums show recent blockbusters at 16 multiplex theatres that spread across Canada, each of which retains its own unique personality and honours any historic roots. In Edmonton, the Princess Theatre?s original 1915 auditorium, complete with balcony, golden drapes, and red walls, accommodates moviegoers with babies or pet hyenas inside a soundproof cry room. In Saskatchewan, the circa-1930 Roxy Theatre preserves the ambience of a Spanish courtyard. As guests find their auditorium at the Rainbow Cinemas Ontario locations, they can admire giant murals by local artist Fred Harrison.
Reflecting on this childhood, Chris Keating sometimes feels as if he didn't exist. His parents' divorce left him with very little tangible evidence of his formative years, so he's spent his adult life as a photographer making sure children can look back fondly at warm family memories. Chris Keating and his Calgary staff have made this a reality for more than 3,000 families since opening the doors to Towne Photography in 2006. There, the professional photographic crew shoots posed and candid shots of families, children, couples, and babies at picturesque parks or against their studio backdrops, and they also snap triumphant graduate portraits, intimate prenatal shots, and provocative passport pics that make border crossing a breeze. Their ironclad guarantee allows unsatisfied clients to request reshoots, reprints, or resizing on all photographs, and they vow to remake or recapture any artwork that sustains damage over the years. Chris also takes his photographic knowledge on the road to conduct Betterphoto Workshops across the United States and Canada, teaching novice photographers how to artistically preserve their most precious memories.
Since opening as the Bonita Theatre in 1911, the city's oldest movie house has undergone numerous transformations, most recently screening Chinese and Hindi films throughout the '80s and '90s and Tamil-language films in the current millennium. Big Picture Cinema is its latest incarnation, specializing in independent and world cinema. Grinder Coffee, the theatre's next door neighbour, concocts gourmet concessions, meals, and coffee for moviegoers before they saunter down the theatre's wood-to-concrete floor and sink into one of 295 seats, lined with marine blue corduroy.
As 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound orbits the audience, 35mm and digital projectors showcase premieres of films that eschew traditional Hollywood fare, including a monthly horror film series in partnership with Fangoria Magazine and weekly Bollywood film reels discovered in the theatre basement during renovations. Local artists also showcase their work each Wednesday followed by coffee and discussion sessions with the audience, where they can ask guest moviemakers about the creative process or how to talk actors out of staying in pirate character during visits to the dentist.