Dolphin Cinemas Burnaby facing possible demolition

Alas, in what has become a regular occurance, Metro Vancouver may be losing yet another movie theatre.

The site of the Dolphin Theatre in Burnaby has been slated for redevelopment.

Burnaby City Council held the first reading for a rezoning bylaw for 4555 East Hastings Street on May 6, and a public hearing followed on May 28. A second hearing is scheduled for Monday (June 10).

The theatre could be demolished any time after the third and final reading of the rezoning bylaw.

Heights Entertainment, the developer, is partnering with the non-profit Vancouver Resource Society, which provides housing for people with disabilities, to build a four-storey mixed use development.

The project would offer two levels of commercial and office space and two levels of residential space. Eleven of the accessible housing rental units will be purchased by the society.

The Dolphin Theatre has operated in the Burnaby Heights neighbourhood for over 50 years.

The Dolphin is owned by Hollywood 3 Cinemas, which also runs the Hollywood 3 Surrey and the Hollywood 3 Pitt Meadows.  

If the Dolphin closes, SilverCity Metropolis at Metrotown will remain the only movie theatre in Burnaby. Station Square Cinemas, located near Metrotown and operated by Cineplex, closed in September.

Other theatres which have recently closed in Vancouver include Collingwood Cinemas and the Ridge Theatre.

The Dolphin Theatre did not respond to an interview request by the time of this posting.

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Jun 7, 2013 at 4:33pm

with the cheap availability of quality HD tv's and other online entertainment sources, movies are just a relic of the past just like video arcades.

Save Vancouver

Jun 7, 2013 at 5:27pm

Uh yeah Rolf, just like they said movies would kill live theatre. LOL.

Kevin S

Jun 7, 2013 at 6:32pm

Movies aren't a relic of the past... they're just too expensive, and movie companies are trying to tack extra crappy gimmics (*cough*3D*cough*) onto the ticket price for some reason.

Take the Dolphin for example: they still have Two Dollar Tuesdays, and they get around-the-block lineups an hour before the showing. People want to see movies, but they don't want to pay $17, plus $15 for popcorn and a drink.

I'll be sad to see the Dolphin go. It's a few blocks from my house, and is a great little place. Their seats were comfy, they had lots of legroom, the theatres were clean.

Sure, their projection systems were outdated, and there was some sound leak between the two theatre halls, but you can't beat $2 (or $5 matinées, or $7 regular price). It's easy to justify $8 for a popcorn and drink when you pay so little for the ticket.

Honestly, the Dolphin was the place to go to support a great local business, and as I said already, I'll be sad to see it go.

Maybe the new development will include a small, underground movie theatre?


Jun 7, 2013 at 11:32pm

I haven't been there in years but if I lived beside it as Kevin does, then this would be sad. There is something pretty great about going to the movies vs just watching it at home. There is a dress up, let's go for an event aspect. Comedies, in particular, are better in a crowd.

Fortunately, the Rio gets it, I think. Hope something closer happens for Kev and other Burnabites

Alan Layton

Jun 8, 2013 at 10:15am

Rolf is right. High quality home entertainment systems and illegal downloads are ever increasing and they do cut in to the movie theatre profits. This has been known for years and started with the first consumer VCR's. These same systems have also hurt attendance at sporting events, such as the BC Lions. Watching a game on a large screen in HD, at home, is often better than being there, especially when you factor in the cost of the tickets, parking and especially the refreshments. There will always be die-hard fans of live entertainment, but the casual movie goer has found a better alternative.


Jun 9, 2013 at 2:20pm

Damn. I had no clue the ol' place was closing down. I've had so many good movie memories there. I've seen all the Marvel movies there, watched the first Harry Potter there, had my first date with a girl there, too many to count. RIP Dolphin

Chris L.

Jun 11, 2013 at 9:34am

Kevin has it right. Illegal downloads are a symptom of the problem, not the problem itself. The real problem is price gouging at the bigger theaters -- $30 per person to see a movie (including popcorn) is ridiculous. It's the theaters themselves that are driving people away.


Aug 9, 2013 at 11:30pm

I have been frequenting the Dolphin since I moved to BC in 1993. Once in a grumpy mood I went to see "Executive Decision" for $4?
I got so into the movie that at one point when Halle Berry is cruising down the airplane, looking for the "trigger man", I screamed "Don't look into his eyes!"!!!! Heads turned, I slunk
down in my seat totally embarassed.. Good times. Please don't take the Dolphin, it's a reminder of gentler times. A lovely local cinema you can stroll to. See a flick, walk home hand in hand with your sweetie, it should be on the endangered list.