Looking for something fun and different to do this weekend? Why not plan a fun visit to a local drive-in theatre? Take some time to appreciate the simplicity of watching a movie or two from the comfort of your car with your family (and even your pets) while indulging in an extra-large bucket of popcorn!
What’s the Closest Drive-In Theatre to Toronto?
There are no longer any permanent drive-in movie theatres within the city of Toronto.
The three closest drive-in theatres to Toronto are:
⭐️ 5-Drive Movie Theatre in Oakville
⭐️ Starlight Drive-in Movie Theatre in Hamilton
⭐️ Stardust Drive-in Movie Theatre in Newmarket
Read on to find out more about each of these drive-in theatres in Toronto and across Ontario.
What happened to the drive-in theatre at The Docks in Toronto?
Sadly, The Docks theatre in Toronto shut its doors in 2018. The golf facilities and driving range in the neighbourhood were expanded, and the movie theatre is now a parking lot full of boats!
Not to worry, though; there are plenty of drive-in theatres across Ontario for those who want this fun entertainment experience.
1. The 5 Drive-In Movie Theatre (Oakville)
About 25 kilometres west of Toronto, in Oakville, you’ll find the 5 Drive-In Movie Theatre. There are two recent release movies running on each of its three movie screens every night, for a total of six films each night. Movies play rain or shine.
The 5 Drive-In Movie Theatre has a great takeaway concession stand with all the classic movie snacks, including popcorn, cotton candy, hamburgers, and hot dogs, even though outside food is not allowed.
It is recommended that you arrive early to the 5 Drive-In as it is a very popular location and there can be long lines at the concession stands ahead of the movie start time. The box office opens at 6:45 p.m.
5 Drive-In Tip: Buy your tickets online and arrive early, as this is a popular spot close to Toronto.
2. Starlight Drive-In Movie Theatre (Hamilton)
About 40 kilometres west of Toronto, in Hamilton, is where you’ll find The Starlight. There are two recent release movies running on each of its three movie screens every night, for a total of six films each night. Both films, which are being shown on the same screen, are included in the admission price.
No outside food is allowed in the theatre, but they have a large concession stand where you can not only purchase the usual popcorn, hamburgers, and hotdogs, but you can also buy deep-fried pickles, pulled pork sandwiches, and funnel cakes too!
Starlight Drive-In Tip: Arrive early, as the concession stand line can be quite long and you don’t want to miss the start of the movie waiting in line!
3. The Stardust Drive-In Movie Theatre (Newmarket)
The Stardust is located in Newmarket, about 40 kilometres north of the city. The Stardust drive-in movie theatre has 3 movie screens, with two showing on each screen each night. Your ticket covers the cost of both movies playing on the same screen. The movie lineup includes current box-office hits.
No outside food is allowed, but the reviews for food are excellent, and there are lots of great food options on the menu.
Stardust Drive-In Tip: Drive very carefully as there are lots of potholes near the entrance/exit of this drive-in theatre!
Drive-In Theatres in Greater Ontario Area
The 5-Drive-In Movie Theatre, the Starlight, and the Stardust are all within an hour’s drive from the city of Toronto. However, there are many more excellent drive-in movie theatre options in Southern Ontario that are worth visiting.
Whether you are driving from Toronto or perhaps you are camping or cottaging in Ontario, a trip to a local drive-in movie is a fun way to spend the evening with family or perhaps on a romantic date!
4. Port Hope Drive-In Movie Theatre (Port Hope)
The Port Hope theatre has one screen that, on a standard night, plays two movies each night. On occasion, there are also triple-feature nights.
Port Hope theatre also has a very strict no outside food policy. They explain on their website that the theatre stays operational through its concession sales, and they ask visitors to respect the no outside food policy. Their concession stand includes popcorn, cotton candy, nachos, and hot food, including poutine and pogos. You also need to try Prings (onion rings made like a poutine).
Finally, the Port Hope drive-in movie theatre is pet-friendly! There is even a dog-walking area for dogs to take care of business.
Port Hope Drive-In Tip: Free on a Sunday? Check out the “fill a car” $20/carload special!
5. Lindsay Twin Drive-In Movie Theatre (Lindsay)
The Lindsay Twin Drive-In movie theatre has two screens and plays newly released movies. The snack bar has lots of great food options, including prime rib burgers, all-beef hotdogs, supersized fries, onion rings, deep-fried pickles, and slushies.
The Lindsay Drive-In has a small playground that children can enjoy prior to the start of the movie.
6. Mustang Drive-In Theatre (Guelph)
The Mustang Drive-in Theatre is located in Guelph, Ontario. The Mustang has one screen that plays two movies each night. Parking spots are on a first come first served basis. They have a special Sunday Night Carload for $25. The movie line up includes current box office hits.
Lots of food options are available at the concession standing including hamburgers, hotdogs, poutine, onion rings, ice cream, candy and of course popcorn! The Mustang Drive-in is a pet friendly theatre that has a small playground as well.
Mustang Drive-In Tip: The Mustang Drive-in is a cash only venue. There is an ATM on site, but best to bring some cash with you!
7. Can-View (Skyway) Drive-In Movie Theatre (St. Catharine’s)
With new ownership in 2023, this drive-in theater is the largest drive-in movie theatre in Ontario with 4 screens. When searching online, this theatre has two names – Skyway is likely the new name under the new management.
Can-View (Skyway) Drive-In Tip: Review for the concession stand at the start of the 2023 season are not great! Complaints of high prices and mediocre food. Bring your patience.
8. Sunset Drive-In Movie Theatre (Barrie)
Sunset Drive-In Tip: This drive-in is named Sunset for a reason – come early to watch the spectacular sunset behind the screen.
9. Muskoka Drive-In Movie Theatre (Muskoka)
The Muskoka Drive-In Movie theatre is a cash-only facility, although they do have an ATM on site. Movies play rain or shine.
Muskoka Drive-In Tip: The box office closes at the start of the first movie. There is no admission after the first movie starts, so arrive early.
How To Maximize The Drive-In Movie Theatre Experience
The iconic drive-in movie theatre experience, which can be enjoyed with friends, family, or even a first date, has something special to offer. Bring your lawn chairs, pillows, sleeping bags, blankets, games, and even lawn chairs if you want to relax before the film. The relaxed atmosphere and shared experience makes for a fun and memorable night out.
In order to have a great night out at the drive-in theatre, here are some top planning tips.
1. Arrive Early
Arrive early for the best drive-in movie theatre experience. You’ll be able to choose the ideal parking space and have plenty of time to stop by the concession stand before the movie starts. There is nothing worse than having the movie start and you are still waiting in line for popcorn!
2. Know how to Turn Off Your Car Lights
In order for everyone to truly appreciate the drive-in movie theatre experience, car lights need to be turned off. In many cases, you will listen to the movie through your car radio, so you will need to know how to use the utility mode on your car to power the radio while keeping your lights off.
If you cannot turn off your running lights, you will want to bring something to cover your lights such as a blanket, cardboard, or duct tape.
3. Keep an Eye On Your Car Battery
To hear the audio of the movie, you will need to tune in to a particular radio station. Keeping your radio on but your car off will require power from your car battery. A good battery should likely be good for a 2 hour movie, but, if you decide to stay for the double-header, your car battery likely won’t last 4 hours.
While some drive-in movie theatres are prepared for dead car batteries and are prepared to help out visitors whose car batteries have died (some for a fee), in other cases you’ll be “hoping” for a kind staff member or movie neighbour to give you a boost. It’s always a good idea to have booster cables in your car, just in case.
To avoid a dead battery start up your car for 15-20 minutes half way through the movie or even better, bring a battery powered radio so you don’t even have to use your car radio. Note that radio apps on your phone will not work.
4. Bring Bug Spray
Whether you want to watch the movie in lawn chairs, or perhaps the bed of your truck, if you are outside at dusk in Ontario, you are going to be fighting the mosquitoes. Be sure to pack some bug spray so you can enjoy the park, sit outside, or even stand in line at the concession stand!
FAQ: Drive-In theatres Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Yes! Most of them are located in Southern Ontario. While there are no drive-in theatres in Toronto, there are three located within an hour of the city. The three closest drive-in theatres to Toronto are located in Oakville, Hamilton and Newmarket.
There are about 10 drive-in theatres left in Ontario. All 10 drive-in theatres that are open in southern Ontario 2023 are described in some detail in this post.
Yes. There are lots of drive-in movies left across Canada. You could, for example, visit the Starlight drive-in located in Enderby, British Columbia and watch a movie with the beautiful Canadian Rockies in the background.
It’s difficult to give an exact number of the drive-in movie theatres in Canada. I estimate there to be about 25-30 in total. The drive-in movie theatre business is challenging one, and every year drive-in theatres close.
The Wrap-Up: Drive-In Theatres in Toronto
As a child, I remember going to the drive-in movie theatre with my parents. We packed the car with blankets and pillows, arrived early to find the best spot, eagerly waited in line to purchase buttery popcorn and a frozen slushie, and then nestled in as the movie began on the extra-large screen. I have such fond memories of this special experience I shared with my family.
With so many theatre possibilities in Toronto and Southern Ontario there is no better time than now to plan your own drive-in theatre Toronto trip!
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