Locals Dismayed by Bridgewater Cineplex Closure

(Illustration: Will Maclachlan)

The Bridgewater Cineplex is permanently closing its doors on April 29. Across Lunenburg County, locals are stunned and dismayed by this decision. Excluding multi-purposes venues which sometimes screen films, the nearest movie theatre is in Bayer’s Lake, about an hour’s drive away.

Although online petitions with lots of support are calling for Cineplex to keep its doors open in Bridgewater, the company’s decision is final. 

“Cineplex is out of the picture,” says Bridgewater Mayor David Mitchell. 

However, this doesn’t mean the space cannot still be used to show movies.

Mitchell says many people have reached out about the future use of the building, which is owned by Crombie, a real-estate investment trust. “We’re trying to make the connections between Crombie and these folks,” he says.

There is a possibility of a business other than Cineplex operating the building as a movie theatre. Continuing to run a movie theatre isn’t the only possibility; Mitchell says someone has expressed interest in making the building a rock-climbing gym. There is precedent for such a change-over; the Oxford Theatre in Halifax closed as a theatre in 2017 and re-opened as East Peak Climbing in 2020.

If Bayer’s Lake seems like a bridge too far for a Friday night movie, there are a few alternatives. Both Astor Theatre and Chester Playhouse screen a variety of films. In the summertime, Bridgewater residents can look forward to Fresh Air Films, a series of free outdoor film screenings.

Like most people in the region, Mitchell has fond memories of seeing movies at Bridgewater Cineplex. He recalls going to see Barbie (twice!) with his teenage daughter this summer. At the theatre, teenagers were dressed up in suits and ties—in support of Oppenheimer—or in all pink—in support of Barbie.

“The movie theatre connects generations,” he says.

Locals will certainly be keeping an eye out for updates on the future of this space. In an online petition created by Mary Scott, which at the time of writing this article had approximately 1000 signatures, Scott wrote: “This isn’t just a building with screens; it’s a cornerstone of our community.”


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