Bringing up the curtain
For some seven years, what was once the Beaver Theatre has stood shuttered and silent, like a ghost along Minden’s Water Street.
The boards that cover its entranceway have become such a normalized part of the Minden landscape that it’s easy to forget that behind them are doors, doors through which, for decades, generations of movie-goers passed into a portal that brought the magic of Hollywood to a tiny Ontario town.
Some residents will remember the Beaver Theatre as it was in its glory days.
I remember heading down from my family’s Halls Lake cottage to see one of the Batman movies of the early 90s. By that time the theatre was fairly . . . rustic, plaster peeling and the place smelling a bit like the inside of an old library book.
For a kid, though, it was still a magical, cottage country experience. I remember coming out of the theatre into the warm, summer air and seeing the Gull River shimmering in front of me.
Now, the concept of being able to see a movie in downtown Minden is beyond novel.
It’s almost unfathomable.
After sitting idle for a number of years, the theatre experienced a brief renaissance in 2009. There was plenty of buzz in the community about a plan to turn the building into an arts hub.
Unfortunately, some burst pipes and ensuing lawsuit put a quick end to that dream.
Now, years later, it seems the lights in what was once the Beaver Theatre may be flicked on once more.
A new owner is performing assessments on the building and surveying the community about how they’d like to see it used.
In 2016, the closest movie theatre to Minden is in Kinmount, but it is only open seasonally. Going to the show in the wintertime requires a road trip to Lindsay or Bracebridge or Peterborough or Huntsville.
What a treat it would be to be able to decide to go and see a movie last-minute on a Friday night.
Unlike Haliburton Village, which has the Northern Lights Performing Arts Pavilion, Minden is also without a proper theatre for live entertainment and it would be a welcome sight to see the theatre used in that way as well.
Here’s hoping the curtain in Minden rises once again.