By ALLISON PALMER
Movie theatres around the world have closed their doors due to the COVID -19 pandemic, but Fox Theatre has managed to keep their clients engaged through a fundraising initiative.
Located on Queen Street East in the Beach, the Fox is one of Toronto’s oldest movie theatres still operating as such.
When theatres had to close their doors to help stop the spread of COVID-19, many faced an uncertain future with no idea when they might be able to open up again.
To help keep the community engaged and to ensure the Fox will still be in business once the virus restrictions are lifted, a fundraising campaign was started by the theatre.
For $150, plus taxes, customers were able to purchase a plaque with their name on it to be put on seats at the historic theatre.
The Fox posted information about the sale on their website and the community quickly showed its support.
By Tuesday April 7, all 251 seats were sold with the exception of one which will be auctioned off at a later date. The seat sale was meant for customers to own naming rights to a seat in the theatre, or it could be dedicated under the name of a loved one.
“The seat sale was a major success I would say,” said Daniel Demois, one of the Fox’s owners.
He said the owners had to come up with different ideas to keep their customers involved while they were unable to attend the actual theatre to watch films.
“There’s a theatre in Ottawa, the Mayfair ,and they did it, just a week or two prior to us doing it and they had great success with it,” said Demois.
Although the Fox had a donation button on its website, Demois said people were reaching out and asking about more ways they could be involved to help.
“We’ve had such an out-pouring of just emails and people talking online about the Fox and buying gift certificates,” Demois said.
The company also owns the Apollo Cinema in Kitchener that has since held a similar successful seat sale.
“We’ve always been aware that we’re a part of a theatre with a good deal of history. It opened in 1914, that’s a long time ago,” Demois said of the Fox.
It opened as the Pastime in 1914, then quickly changed its name to the Prince Edward less than a year later. Since 1937, the Fox has been the name of the landmark theatre on Queen Street East just east of Beech Avenue.
With no idea when COVID -19 restrictions will end, Demois said he is worried about what will happen when they and other movie theatres do open again.
“Obliviously I hope that we open the doors and people will feel comfortable enough to go spend time with other people,” Demois said.