Oxford theatre, 'Church of film' for 80 years, closes its doors tonight

Oxford theatre, 'Church of film' for 80 years, closes its doors tonight
From CBC - September 13, 2017

The lights will go down for the last time this evening at Halifax's 80-year-old Oxford theatre.

When the art deco-style, single-screen cinema opened eight decades ago, former projectionist Aaron Larter, who now works at the Halifax Central Library, said it was during a boom time for west-end Halifax.

"It was a special place for a lot of the people who worked there, who went there," Larter said.

In his time working at the theatre, Larter has seen weddings and special screenings, including one of the musical Grease where people dressed up and danced.

"To work there it was just kind of a magical place," he said. "There was something different about going and seeing a film there and unfortunately this is the end of that."

Sold to developer

The current owner of the Oxford, Cineplex of Toronto, announced two weeks ago the building that houses the theatre, located at the corner of Quinpool Road and Oxford Street, was sold to a local business owned by the Nahas family, Nanco Group.

The developer said it plans to keep the building intact and turn it into a commercial and residential complex.

'A church of film'

Larter, who worked as a projectionist and manager at the Oxford between 2005 and 2008, said he was sad to hear news of the closure, but not entirely surprised.

"Part of me knew that this day was going to come eventually," he said, noting that sold-out shows at the theatre were rare in recent years.

Larter said for him and others, the Oxford was more than just another theatreit had character and a sense of history.

"For me it was kind of like a church, a church of film. It was a special place that you went and it just added onto the experience of seeing a film there. It enriched that experience," he said. "It was part of the whole package deal so I am definitely going to miss that."

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