The ByTowne Cinema is a one-screen repertory movie theatre located in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Opened in 1947, the cinema is one of Ottawa's oldest movie theatres and the city's main venue for independent and foreign films. The 670-seat cinema is located on Rideau Street at Nelson, several blocks east of the Rideau Centre.
The one-screen cinema was built by Hyman Berlin and opened on February 10, 1947 as the Nelson Cinema. The theatre sat 980 spectators in a main level and an upper loge and was air conditioned. Admission was 25 cents for general seating and 35 cents for the upper loge. Soon after, it was leased to the Famous Players chain of cinemas and for decades was one of the city's leading cinemas. The theatre was renovated in the 1960s, reducing seating to 790, and adding 70 mm projection facilities.
In 1988 Famous Players closed the cinema when the chain moved to multiplexes. The Berlin family sold the cinema to the operators of the independent Towne Cinema on Beechwood Avenue, in the New Edinburgh district of Ottawa. The Towne cinema subsequently closed and was renovated into retail space. The Nelson was renamed the ByTowne, in honour of Bytown, Ottawa's original name until January 1, 1855, and began showing alternative and repertory films.
The cinema was renovated again in 2000, salvaging relatively new seats from the recently closed Capitol Square multiplex of downtown Ottawa, reducing the seating to 670.
In the fall of 2012, the cinema installed a Christie digital projector, although its two 35mm projectors remain operational. As well, in May 2013, the ByTowne renovated its auditorium, replacing its seats on ground level, bringing the total number to 650.
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