Canada’s First Drive-In Theatre

vpl 81172B - Cascade Drive-in Theatre and two automobiles with rain visors. 1950. Artray Studio. Rain visors to be rented for cars attending theatre at 3960 Canada Way, Burnaby.

VPL 81172B – Cascade Drive-in Theatre at at 3960 Canada Way, in Burnaby. Two automobiles with rain visors (rain visors were rented for cars attending the Drive-In). 1950. Artray Studio.

The Cascade Drive-In in Burnaby was B.C.’s and Canada’s first¹ drive-in theatre. It was started by George and William Steel and Joe and Art Johnson (Steel-Johnson Amusements, Ltd.) in 1946, opening in August of that year. The theatre was built along Grandview Highway. 
Screen Shot 2016-05-08 at 5.23.21 PM

Cascade Drive-In. 1951. Vintage Air Photos.

In 1977, the theatre was purchased by Don Soutar, Al Chappell and Norm Green and continued to operate as a drive-in until it closed in 1980 and was demolished two years later. The property was redeveloped into a condominium complex now known as Cascade Village.


Cascade Drive-In. 1946. Heritage Burnaby.


¹There is evidence that a drive-in in Stoney Creek, ON may have just edged out the Cascade Drive-In for bragging rights as the first drive-in in Canada.

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4 Responses to Canada’s First Drive-In Theatre

  1. Sheila says:

    I remember, as a pre-schooler, running around the playground underneath the big Cascades movie screen in my pajamas! Very thrilling! By the time the movie started, I was usually asleep in a sleeping bag in the back seat of my parents’ car.

  2. Pauline Kubiny says:

    Your Google Map data is incorrect. There was no green space left where the footprint of the drive-in used to be. You have chosen a business site to the east of Gilmore. The actual site was to the west of Gilmore at the present Curle Avenue – this site now contains a townhouse complex named ‘Cascade Villiage’. The geographic area was known as Cascade Heights well before 1980.

    • mdm says:

      Thank you for making the time to inform me of this error. I’ll make the correction to the post asap. Thanks for commenting!

  3. Rich says:

    Ahh yes, the Cascade drive-in….. amongst other memories I recall the front right wheel, rim and all, literally falling off the car as I drove westbound on the Lougheed after the movie… didn’t get home till 4 a.m.

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