The Okanagan Screen Arts Society is set to take over Vernon’s historic Towne Cinema on 30th Avenue June 1 as fundraising for building upgrades is a third of the way to its goal. (Photo contributed)

The Okanagan Screen Arts Society is set to take over Vernon’s historic Towne Cinema on 30th Avenue June 1 as fundraising for building upgrades is a third of the way to its goal. (Photo contributed)

Historic Vernon cinema rolling into society’s hands

Okanagan Screen Arts Society will take over and run with volunteers the Towne Cinema starting June 1

A longstanding Vernon tradition will continue.

A friendly takeover of the Vernon Towne Cinema is set to occur in a few months’ time as fundraising efforts continue, and an important milestone has been reached.

Money raised through a GoFundMe account and other individual and business donations has reached more than $25,000 — one-third of the $75,000 goal.

The non-profit Okanagan Screen Arts Society announced it will be taking over operations at the historic cinema site on 30th Avenue on June 1.

“We are so excited to have passed this threshold in fundraising,” said Susan Hodgson, co-chair of the society’s fundraising committee. “Along with the City of Vernon grant we received, we are assured that we’ll be able to open the doors and continue the amazing tradition of the Towne Cinema as a venue for Vernonites.”

Volunteer members of the society will run the cinema once COVID-19 health rules allow cinemas to reopen and when important renovations are completed.

“Non-profit, community-owned theatres have been shown to be successful across the province in preserving these historic old Main Street movie palaces from redevelopment,” said Hodgson. “We are happy to be carrying on in their tradition.”

Fundraising efforts continue in order for upgrades to be made to the cinema, including a wheelchair ramp, washroom improvements, a new stage and modernized film equipment.

“We have a long way to go with fundraising to update the venue and improve the experience for our audience members, but that goal is now in sight,” said Hodgson who urged both members of the public and North Okanagan businesses to become part of the Towne Cinema’s legacy.

For details on how to support this cause, please visit SaveOurTowne.ca.

READ MORE: Upgrades to Vernon Towne Cinema prompt giveaway of chairs from the 1940s

READ MORE: Historic Vernon cinema focus of GoFundMe campaign



roger@vernonmorningstar.com

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