At 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 partnering multiplex theatres and cinemas show recently released blockbuster flicks at 15 locations 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 auditoriums at the Ontario locations, they can admire giant murals by local artist Fred Harrison.
In 1913, Arthur Brooks Webster had a problem: he had just been issued a permit to build his theatre, but the local residents were already content with the two theatres just down the road. However, by promising a moviegoing experience unlike any other and rallying his friends to spread a petition door-to-door, Webster gained the support he needed to break the earth on his vision. Though the theatre’s first reel spun in 1914, it took years of cycling through names such as The Pastime and Prince Edward before it finally received its current, more svelte moniker in 1937. Fast-forward to the present day, and the Fox Theatre stands as the longest-running cinema in Canada. First- and second-run films flicker to life on the big screen as enamoured audiences watch on from rows of plush red seats. Aside from the classic moviegoing experience, the theatre may be rented to seat up to 248 spectators for parties, corporate events, and screenings of independent documentaries about the funding channels for independent documentaries.
Employing professional broadcast equipment, the memory restorers at Toronto Home Movies weave threadbare tapes into a sleek tapestry of digital imagery. Adept analog whisperers gently coax VHS, HI8, 8MM, Digital 8, and MiniDV ($12.50 per hour) or film ($25 for 100 ft. of 16mm film) into selflessly giving their content to the 21st century. Audio/visual virtuosos ready home videos, old movies, and public service announcement collections for transfer with a thorough cleaning and conditioning. After technicians edit out reel markers and empty frames, computers step in to scrutinize and enhance every frame for optimal colour and clarity. Customers leave with a high-quality DVD that, like every sequel ever made, is a vast improvement on the original.
Enormous waterslides twist like snakes above Wild Water Kingdom's acres of landscaped grass and open pools. All in all, 17 aquatic attractions dip, dunk, and douse visitors in torrents of water as they whip down slides with names such as Corkscrew and Sidewinder. Though tykes frolic on the semi-submerged playsets of Dolphin Bay, older visitors scream in delight as they hurtle through the twisting pitch-black tunnels of the Night Rider. Elsewhere, sun-soaked volleyball courts and dual miniature golf courses—one themed after a shipwreck, the other an enchanted forest—provide entertainment that keep suede swimsuits perfectly dry.
Additional attractions include Face Drop, which consists of four ziplines that send guests on 80-foot drops—reaching speeds of more than 50kmph—and a 260-yard driving range keeps stances honed with a steady stream of golf balls.