Fort McMurray home to 'world's only drive-in movie theatre made of snow'

An Alberta man has found a new way to embrace winter.

Park yourself in front of a new kind of cinema in Alberta

Graham Whatmough is taking advantage of Alberta's winter to build a drive-in movie theatre of snow in Fort McMurray. (Graham Whatmough/Where the Highway Ends) (Graham Whatmough/Where the Highway Ends)

He calls it the "world's only drive-in movie theatre made entirely out of snow."

Graham Whatmough has built a four by eight metre projector screen out of snow in his hometown, Fort McMurray, Alta., where he is hosting drive-in shows every weekend this month.

"I just like playing in the snow," he said.

This isn't the first snow theatre Whatmough has built. Earlier this winter he built a smaller screen out of snow in a neighbourhood park to test his idea, but the warm winter weather got the best of him and it melted before he had a chance to invite the public to enjoy it.

But Whatmough wasn't deterred.

"I always like building things bigger," he said. "It was a good excuse to get out there and build another one."
“I think lots of people are just excited to show their kids what a drive-in movie theatre is,” Whatmough says (Graham Whatmough/Where the Highway Ends)

With the help of a local bobcat company, he was able to erect the screen in three days. About 20 to 25 cars pack into the theatre area at shows and Whatmough uses a radio transmitter to allow people to tune into the sound and enjoy the show from the comfort of their cars.

"I think lots of people are just excited to show their kids what a drive-in movie theatre is," he said. "A lot of people don't know what they are and it's kind of a unique experience for them."

Whatmough said he heard Fort McMurray used to have a drive-in movie theatre once upon a time, but it left before he moved there eight years ago.

He noted the long summer days make it difficult to hold many screenings, adding another benefit to his new winter venture. 

This weekend, the theatre will be showing the '90s classic Cool Runnings and a zombie movie by a local filmmaker called The Good Survivor.

Whatmough is hoping this month's drive-in run is just the beginning.

He said he has heard from people in other cities who want to start similar initiatives at winter festivals.

For those looking to make their own wintertime outdoor movie theatre Whatmough has posted instructions online.


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