Matinee at the Mayfair

The Mayfair Theatre, in the Old Ottawa South neighbourhood of Ottawa, Canada, was built during the depths of Great Depression. It’s one of only two original neighborhood cinemas still in operation in the Nation’s Capital, and one of the oldest surviving independent movie houses in Canada.

I always loved going to movies, but I always went to the more centrally-located first run theatres in downtown Ottawa, like the Capitol, the Regent and the Rideau… all long gone for decades. I had never been inside the Mayfair until I took these pictures in June of 2017, and to be honest, the rather pedestrian architecture of the building’s exterior doesn’t even hint at the Spanish villa-style interior I found inside. A photographer’s dream, it remains substantially unchanged from when it was built in 1932.

There hasn’t been a downtown movie theatre in Ottawa since the one in the Rideau Centre closed in 2013. I still miss having dinner at a restaurant and then a movie followed by a late evening coffee. The Mayfair in Old Ottawa South and the ByTowne in Lowertown are still showing movies, and there are several multiplexes in suburbia and at the Lansdowne Park shopping centre complex, but then, there are very few movies made these days that I would be interested in seeing anyway, and besides, it was the whole downtown atmosphere I liked. Fortunately, we can easily ignore the marketing hype and choose whatever we want to watch in our own living rooms now, and for me, that is never a current Hollywood movie. Here, CGI this!

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