Denman Cinemas in Vancouver’s West End to close at the end of September

Owners of the independent movie theatre Denman Cinemas in the West End say they will be closing their doors at the end of this month.

Naz Jamshedian told the Straight she and her husband Mike received notice from the owner of the building on Comox Street that their short-term lease will not be renewed after September.

Jamshedian said while they had been advised by their landlord that this would be coming at some stage, they were taken aback at the timing. They were hoping to renew their lease for five years starting in October.

“We just didn’t expect it this early,” she said in a phone interview. “We were in quite a bit of shock.”

The Jamshedians took over management of Denman Cinemas less than two years ago, replacing the carpets, bringing in new seating and investing in a brand new projector system.

“The theatre was doing extremely well,” she noted. “We were extremely happy with the outcome of what we were putting in—we were seeing results right away.”

The owner acknowledged the support of West End residents since the theatre re-opened its doors, noting the cinema has acted as a community venue for groups hosting various events, festivals and fundraisers.

“I think they’re going to be very upset,” she said. “The West End community was…I would say the best customers we’ve ever seen."

She noted Mike Jamshedian, who used to manage the Dolphin, New West and Lougheed Mall theatres, got into the business out of a passion for cinema. She also fondly recalls the experience of attending a neighbourhood theatre when she was growing up in Mumbai.

Jamshedian said in addition to the resources they put into revamping Denman Cinemas, the owners have also invested a significant amount of time into the theatre.

“My husband hasn’t had a day off since last year—December 2010,” she said. “He has only been off for maybe let’s say five or six days in total.”

The co-owner said she and her husband were told that a Dollarama would be taking the place of the cinema.

A spokesperson with property owner Siddoo Properties declined to comment on who the next tenant of the building will be, indicating the situation isn’t finalized.

Jamshedian noted while she and her husband hope to continue running a theatre, she’s not optimistic they’ll find another venue.

“Unfortunately I don’t think there are many left at all,” she said.

“We don’t want to get into the same thing of working really hard towards something we like, and then being kicked out because [of] one the rent, and two, they want the demolition to get something else done.

“And that’s what’s happening to these smaller theatres that are there, because the land value keeps rising and obviously there’s no way a theatre with the way it works can afford very high rents.”

Other single-screen theatres in Vancouver that have recently closed include the Hollywood Theatre on West Broadway and Van East Cinemas on Commercial Drive. Burnaby's Station Square Cinemas closed on September 4.

Before it closes at the end of September, Denman Cinemas will host another series of films as part of the Vancouver Retro Cinema Fest, from September 23 to 30.

“We are going to be ending with a blast,” said Jamshedian.

Comments (20) Add New Comment
The theatre recently hosted a Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth Canadian tour and the Vancouver 9/11 Hearings. Death treats were issued here and in Seatle for the organizers and venue owners. Just a coincidence?
Rating: 0
Dollarama......that's the future of Vancouver truly world-class
Rating: -6
out at night
Oh boy, a Dollarama! Can't wait!

Another nail in the coffin of culture. Thanks Siddoo Holdings!
Rating: -5
W. End
What a shame - this is a real loss to the West End, and I give the current operators credit for resurrecting the theatre. It's unfortunate the owners of the Denman Mall and Coast Plaza are taking such a short term view. Also sad that Vision Vancouver pre-approved rezoning of the hotel tower for rental apartment use without taking into account the potential loss of the theatre space, or the lost opportunity of converting the garden level to publicly-accessible facilities.
Rating: -4
A. MacInnis
Man, I'm trying to stay away from those death treats - they're bad for your health!
Rating: +31
Very sad indeed. Perhaps this can be stopped with enough response from the community. Sure hope so. If not - the Hollywood is still sitting there, lonely... ??
Rating: -20
Simple Little Fishing Village
Sad to see the loss of another theatre ... although Denman Cinemas had to be the worst cinematic expeience in the city. There is so much potenetial a room like that could have - especially in that location ... now we get another lame store carry cheap Chinese-imported junk.
Truly embarassing.

Dae19: time to chnge the tin-foil on your hat there, buddy ...
Rating: +10
'Death treats' the reason why there's an obesity epidemic in North America.
Rating: -5
Dollarama? Really? Please say you're joking!
Rating: +11
Denman cinema
simple fishing village please don't criticize or comment till you get your facts right.since we took over we did different film festivals including Doxa .we raised lots of money for different fundraiser including for cancer fundraiser and we were home of canadian films and we were hosting first weekend club movies every month and we were partnering with pride society and showing pride movies once a month .the community loved us.
Rating: 0
Here's the address for Fiddoo Properties in case anyone feels like sending thoughts to them.
105-2277 West 2nd Ave, Vancouver
V6K 1H8
Phone: (604) 736-5751
Fax: (604) 736-5752
Rating: +8
Robert K
This is really unfortunate. The theatre was just starting to take off under its new owners. I love what they are doing and the mix of films has been very imaginative. Even the popcorn is excellent! I wish the landlords knew how much the theatre contributes to the life of the community.
Rating: +3
When will hear about the opening of a new cultural venue? Why can't Vancouver do this? Let's commit to opening 3 black box small scale theatres downtown along with a 4 screen multiplex devoted to bringing more non-hollywood film to the West End. Let's make sure it's funded and that the owners of the building prefer culture to commerce.
Rating: -9
Simple Fishing Village you must get your facts straight regarding tin foil hats in need of repair. If this is the reason for my paranoia, then the mind control waves would render me sane like you.
Rating: -10
LDRC Do u have an email?
Not sure the receptionist will appreciate my rant.

Denman Cinema Is there any further steps u could take?
A community petition or the like?
does Siddoo have a responsibilty to maintain public space in this case?
Rating: -3
I've created a Facebook group with the Siddoo phone number and encourage everyone to join the group, call them, and tell all your friends!

Vancouver, let's not roll over quietly on this one. Let 'em know we don't like this!
Rating: -6
Aurora B
Thanks for posting Siddoo Properties contact deets here. To all: If you care about Denman Theatre, please take a moment to call or write them.

This is truly an outrage, and yet another reason this city sucks at this point in time. All the good things that make it a unique and great city - are going..going.. gone (Ridge Theatre next)

The new management at Denman Cinema had truly done a fantastic job not only resurrecting the wonderful neighbourhood theatre that is The Denman, but were making huge inroads at creating a truly vital venue for fillmmakers, and excellent independent cinematic fare!

If Siddoo Properties proceeds with turfing the excellent Denman Cinema proprietors out at the end of September, take note Siddoo - you have permanently lost a customer. I will NEVER set foot in that mall or your supposed new tenant - Dollarama - ever, again. Do the right thing -- let Denman Cinema remain! We want The Denman Cinema!
Rating: +5
Julia C.
Have any of you been in a Dollarama before? Personally, I'm excited to have them in my neighbourhood! They offer great value by sourcing directly... much better than a Shopper's Drug Mart or Wal-Mart.
The loss of the theater is purely economical, and I agree it carries with it a certain loss of "cultural" appeal to the area. I'm just saying, maybe instead of protesting the owners, find a way to make a theater happen economically elsewhere in the area that can preserve the "culture" we will miss. Everyone wins!
Rating: -7
k funk
what about the Polish Film Festival in October that was scheduled for the Denman?
Rating: +1
Rating: -11
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