5 Drive-in Theatres Ottawa that You Need To Visit [2024]

  • Date: 28/03/2024
  • Time to read: 11 min.

Looking for some good experience at the best drive-in theatres in Ottawa? If so, then here we have shared a complete guide about the best drive in theatres.

Ottawa is home to some of the best Drive-in theatres in the Country. Imagine sitting in the vehicle and watching a movie on a big screen, doesn’t this sound cool rather than sitting inside a regular theater?

It’s more like a big outdoor cinema where you can bring snacks and enjoy the movie from the comfort of your vehicle. Unfortunately, many drive-in theatres in Ottawa have been closed and only a few of them are still operational.

Whether you’re a local or a visitor looking for a unique and new experience. These drive-in theatres are perfect for changing your boring night into a small fun and exciting trip. So, let’s know more about the charm of Ottawa’s drive-in theaters.

What are drive-in theaters?

Drive-in theaters are basically open-air theaters where people can watch movies from the comfort of their cars. It was quite popular back in the 1950s and 1960s but in recent years the popularity of drive-in theaters has declined very sharply. However, there are still a few hundred drive-in theaters operating in the United States and Canada.

It has a large screen where the movie is screened using a projection booth. For the audio, you need to set (sync) the radio of your vehicle with the broadcasting frequency of the theatre which means you will watch the movie on the screen and listen to the audio from the radio.

They were originally designed to be a family-friendly entertainment option as they were affordable and offered a totally unique way to watch a movie.

How many drive-in theatres are left in Ottawa?

Drive-in Experience Ottawa is the only drive-in theatre in Ottawa that is still operational. It is managed and operated by The Drive-In Experience, Ottawa, and is available in two locations in Ottawa.

  • RBC Festival Field at Wesley Clover Park (West location)
  • RCGT Park parking lot at 300 Coventry Road (East location)

The place remains open on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights. You can purchase the tickets online if you don’t want to stand in long queues of vehicles. As of now, there is no concession available to anyone.

It’s a great way to enjoy a movie in a safe and socially distanced environment. It is also a fun and nostalgic experience that brings back a lot of old memories of childhood when we used to love watching a movie at drive-in theatres.

Drive-in Theatres Ottawa

Drive-in Theatres

The Drive-in Experience Ottawa

PriceNeed to be checked Online
TimingNeed to be checked Online
ConcessionNot Available
Broadcast Frequency 90.3 FM

It’s the only drive-in theatre in Ottawa that is still operational where you can enjoy watching a movie and have some fun.

RCGT Park parking lot and RBC Festival Field are the only two locations where you can watch the movie. No Concession is available and you have to bring your own food(snacks) and no alcoholic drink is allowed on the premises.

You can also sit on a chair outside your vehicle unless you are not hindering anyone’s parking space. The place showcases about five movies each week and the best time to visit it is on the weekends(Saturday and Sunday).

Address: 300 Coventry Rd, Ottawa, ON K1K 4P5, Canada

Drive-in Theatres Near Ottawa

Skylight Drive-in Theatre

Skylight Drive-in Theatre

Price$30 CAD
Timing Late Evening
Concession Snack Bar is avilable
Broadcast Frequency106.1 FM

The Sky Drive is an open-air theatre located in Pembroke City, Ontario, which is about 91 miles(1 hour 31-minute drive) from Ottawa.

Screening of all the movies begins at dusk and the timing may change depending on the month you are watching. Pro Tip: Try to reach the place as soon as possible to get to the best spot for yourself so that no one can block or obstruct your view.

Keep in mind that the movie will be screened irrespective of the weather conditions and no refund will be granted in any case.

Port Elmsley Drive-In Theatre

Port Elmsley Drive-In Theatre

PriceCheck it online here
TimingShowtime from 9:15 pm
ConcessionFood and Drinks are avilable
Broadcasting Frequency88.7

The Port Elmsley Drive-In Theatre located near Port Elmsley, is the oldest operating drive-in theatre in Canada, having operational since 1948.

It has a single-screen theater where the movie is projected for the viewers. It has a capacity of 300 cars at a time. It shows first-run movies, as well as classic films and special events. The place remains open from April to October and stays closed for the winter season because of the freezing temperature and unpredicted weather conditions.

Truly, it’s a great way to enjoy a movie with families, and friends.

Address: 199 Forest Lea Rd, Pembroke, ON K8A 6W6, Canada

Cine-Parc Saint Eustache

Cine-Parc Saint Eustache

PriceAge 11 and over – $11 CAD
65 and over – $7 CAD
Holidays – $11 CAD
TimingArrive before sunset
Consessionrestaurant available 
Broadcasting FrequencyScreen 1 (88.1)
Screen 2 (89.1)
Screen 3 (89.7)
Screen 4 (90.7)
Screen 5 (91.7)

The Cine-Parc Saint-Eustache is a drive-in theatre located in Saint-Eustache Quebec. It is the largest and most modern drive-in theatre in Canada. It has more than five screens (each with a different broadcasting Frequency) that can hold more than 2,000 cars at a time.

The place was opened back in 1970 and has been owned and operated by the Mathers family ever since. It shows a variety of movies, including first-run releases, classic films, and family-friendly fare.

The place remains open from May to September and remains closed till the next season arrives.

Before going to the location make sure to check the weather forecast as the theatre may remain closed in case of extreme weather conditions like heavy downpours or too windy to be outside.

Address: 455 Av. Mathers, Saint-Eustache, QC J7P 4C1, Canada

Mustang PEC Drive-In Theatre

Mustang PEC Drive-In Theatre

Price$30 CAD/ Car
TimingArrive before Sunset
Concession Snack bar available 
(outside snacks are not allowed)
Arrive before sunsetWashroom

Mustang PEC Drive-In Theatre located in Prince Edward County, is a two-hour drive from Ottawa. It has two screens which remain open from Wednesday until Sunday.

Screening of all the movies begins after the sun sets down and the timing may alter as per the months you are watching in. Pets are allowed inside the premises only if they are well-behaved and have a leash.

You can buy the tickets from the online portal so you don’t have to wait in long queues of cars or face any inconvenience.

Remember the parking lot works on a first come, first serve basis so reach the place as early as you can to grab the best spot for your vehicle.

Address: 1521 Prince Edward County Rd 1, Bloomfield, ON K0K 1G0, Canada

What are the best drive-in theaters in Ottawa?

The Drive-In Experience Ottawa is the only drive-in theater that is still operational in Ottawa. Currently, it’s available in two locations RBC Festival Field at Wesley Clover Park and RCGT Park parking lot at 300 Coventry Road. You can book the tickets online to avoid being in long queues of cars just to buy tickets from the gate.

How much are tickets to the drive-in theater in Ottawa?

In general, the Tickets for the drive-in theater in Ottawa for carloads of up to 6 people is $25, in which you will be charged $14 per adult, and $7 per child (aged between 4 -14).

If you want to avoid all types of inconvenience then you need to buy the tickets online. Just kidding you can also buy them on the gate but you might have to wait a bit longer.

Can I bring my own food and drinks to the drive-in theater in Ottawa?

Yes, you are welcome to bring your own food and drinks to the drive-in theater of Ottawa. Most of the drive-in theatres allow you to bring your own food and drinks but few of them don’t allow you to bring anything from outside. Make sure all the drinks are non-alcoholic beverages otherwise, you might get yourself in trouble. Sitting in chairs outside of your vehicle is permitted as long as you remain in your parking spot.

Can I bring pets to the drive-in theater in Ottawa?

It depends from theatre to theatre whether they allow pets or not. Mostly drive-in theaters allow them if they are well-behaved and have a leash. But still, you need to visit the official website of the theatres to know more about it. If you didn’t find anything helpful there you can call on Contact number and then confirm it from there.

Do I have to keep my car ‘ON’ at a drive-in theater?

Not necessarily, you just need to use the radio so that you can listen to the audio of the movie. For that purpose, you just need the power from the battery and there is no need to keep your engine On. What does that mean, you need to put your vehicle in accessory mode in which your engine remains off.

To avoid all this, the best option is to bring your own portable radio. Now you don’t need to worry about anything and can enjoy the movie happily.

Why do people go to drive-in theaters?

People go to the drive-in theaters because of two reasons. Firstly, they are cheap compared to going to a movie theatre in main downtown Ottawa and secondly, you have more privacy than going to a regular theatre.

You can bring your own drinks and snacks in the open theatre while it is prohibited in regular theatres.

How many drive-in theaters are left in Ontario?

Currently, there are 16 drive-in theaters in Ontario, Canada. During the peak time in the 1950s, the province used to have more than 400 drive-in theaters but as the popularity of these theaters declined exponentially over the years they are now just left few in numbers.

The decline of drive-in theaters is due to a number of factors, like the rise of home video and streaming services, the increasing cost of land, and the changing demographics of moviegoers. All these contributed to the downfall of the Drive-in Theaters in Ottawa.

How much does the Port Elmsley drive-in theater cost?

The Port Elmsley drive-in theater charges $20 per carload (with up to 6 people), $12 per additional adult, and $6 per additional child (ages between 5-12). Anyone below the age of 5 is free and not charged.

Remember that the prices are inclusive of the 13% Ontario HST. Sadly there are no advance ticket sales online you have to buy the tickets at the gate. Parking spaces work on a first-come, first-served so reach the place as soon as possible. Credit, Debit, or Cash are accepted everywhere on the premises.

Some Tips before going to a Drive-in theatre Ottawa: 

Here are some tips that you need to know if you want to have the best drive-in experience:

  • Book the Tickets in Advance: Most of the Drive-in theatres provide an online portal so that you can purchase the ticket online without any inconvenience. Usually, theaters release their tickets at the beginning of the season, while some release them at the beginning of the week before the event.
  • Arrive Early on the Location: Most of the drive-in theatres work on a first-come, first-serve basis so reach the place as soon as possible so that you can grab the best parking space for your vehicle and nothing hinders your view.
  • Check for Concession: Don’t forget to check out for the Concession, as if you are allowed to bring your own food and drinks or not. Usually, most of the drive-in theater allows you to bring your own snacks and drinks but few of them have their own restriction.
  • Avoid Alcoholic Drinks: You are not allowed to take alcoholic drinks and beverages to the drive-in theatres. If caught doing so then you might have to face legal charges, heavy penalties or even arrest & thrown behind bars.
  • Dress comfortably: As you have to sit for the whole time, make sure you have put on some comfortable or loose-fitting clothes. Otherwise, you will be irritated if your clothes keep bothering you. As per my experience, you should go with pajamas or sweatpants as they are quite comfortable for long sittings.
  • Bring blankets and pillows: If you are going to watch a movie on a late-night show then you are advised to bring your own blanket and pillow to stay cozy and warm. However, if you are not going for the late-night show then there is no need to of any blankets or pillows.
  • Pack Snacks and Drinks: Pack a bunch of snacks and drinks so that you can enjoy them while watching the movie. Keep in mind that not all drive-in theatres allow you to bring your own snacks and drinks. So, confirm it before heading out for the location.
  • Bring a portable radio: It’s the perfect way to enjoy the movie as you don’t have to on your car and drain its battery. Just grab a portable radio from the local store and set it on broadcasting frequency and you are all good to go. Make sure you have some spare batteries to enjoy the uninterrupted entertainment.
  • Parking location: Follow all the directions as given by the staff as to where you have to park your vehicle. Adhere to all rules and regulations so that everyone can enjoy the movie without any problem.
  • Turn off your car lights: Leaving your car lights on while the movie is screened can distract and spoil the other person’s experience. So, don’t forget to turn off your car lights when the movie starts.
  • Have a Bug Spray: If you are planning to watch the movie while being outside sitting on the chair then make sure you have the bugs/mosquitos. Otherwise, they will sting and spoil your experience.
  • Be respectful towards others: Keep your noise level down and avoid talking during the movie as it might interrupt another person’s experience. Be aware of your headlights and don’t throw trash around.
  • Trucks: Truckers are encouraged to park their trucks at the end of the parking lane from the screen. As their massive height allows them to watch the movie clearly from a distance.
  • Have a Fog Cleaner: Make sure you have a fog cleaner so that you can properly clean your car windshield and windows. Allow proper ventilation of air to avoid these circumstances.
  • Enjoy the experience: Drive-in theaters are a fun and nostalgic way to enjoy a movie. Relax, have fun, and make some memories.
  • Bring your own Chair to Sit: If you want to watch the movie by sitting outside then you need to bring in your own chair and make sure you are sitting within your parking space.
  • Leave no Trash Behind: As you enjoy snacks and drinks while watching the movie make sure you dump them in the dustbin. You can also bring your own trash bag so that you can put all your trash in one place and dispose of it in the right place.
  • Check For Payment Methods: Don’t forget to check out the official website of the drive-in theater to know what mode of payment they accept. If somehow you forget to bring your cash then you might have to watch the whole movie without even a snack.

Final Thoughts: Drive-in theatres near Ottawa

Drive-in theaters are like traditions that have kept on passing from decades to decades. Despite the decline in popularity of drive-in theaters, Ottawa is still home to five outdoor cinemas.

Drive-in Theatres are still the most popular activity that you can do in Ottawa. So don’t think much about it, grab your drinks, blanket, and besties and head out straight to the best drive-in theater in Ottawa.

If you’re looking for a fun and affordable way to have a unique experience, I highly recommend you check out the local drive-in theater in Ottawa. Believe me, you’re sure to have a great time!

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