Restoring and Revitalizing a 1934 Independent Cinema

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Restoring and Revitalizing a 1934 Independent Cinema

This webinar has been rescheduled to March 11, 2020.

Join ArtsBuild Ontario and Fred Fuchs, Chair of the Westdale Cinema Board of Directors, to hear the story behind the restoration of the 1934 Westdale Theatre in Hamilton, Ontario.

The Westdale has been an important part of Westdale located in Hamilton (and Canada’s first planned neighbourhood) since it opened in 1934. The Westdale was restored and reopened on February 14, 2019 and it has effectively become a leading independent cinema and community hub in Hamilton in accordance with its vision.

Fred will share the story of how a new non-profit charitable organization was able to raise $4.5 million to save the Westdale from being torn down, and how the organization was successful in a heritage restoration project. In this webinar, Fred will discuss the process of ongoing fundraising attempts as well as programming challenges that were overcome which has made the Westdale’s restoration a success.

This webinar is intended for arts managers interested in learning more about capital project development as well as the restoration and maintenance of creative spaces. There will be time for questions and discussion with presenters following their presentations. Join us online!

Date: Wednesday, March 11, 2020, 12:00 – 1:00pm EST
Cost: Free

For more information or to register for this webinar, visit

About our Presenter & The Westdale

Fred Fuchs has been involved in the film and television industry as an independent producer, Hollywood film executive, Canadian broadcaster, and consultant for 40 years. First in Los Angeles, then San Francisco, and next Toronto, he now lives in Dundas, Ontario. His most recent projects include the feature films The Virtuoso (Anthony Hopkins, Anson Mount, Abby Cornish), Little Italy (Emma Roberts, Hayden Christensen, Danny Aiello), Milton’s Secret (Donald Sutherland, Michelle Rodriguez), and Monkey Beach (Grace Dove, Adam Beach).

After moving to Toronto, Fuchs was the Executive Director of Arts and Entertainment at the CBC, Canada’s public broadcaster, commissioning and supervising the production of entertainment content which included the shows The Tudors, Little Mosque on the Prairie, and Heartland.

Currently, Fred is the Chair of the Board of the Westdale Cinema Group, a charitable organization that Fred helped found in Hamilton, Ontario. The Westdale Cinema Group purchased the 1935 heritage Westdale Theatre and has since restored it. The Westdale is now open, and functions as a community arts hub. It mostly shows independent films but also hosts programming, music, talks, and other community events.

The Westdale, as Hamilton’s premier, not-for-profit independent cinema and arts venue, will screen art, independent and commercial films, and provide an intimate, heritage-designated cultural space for performances and events.

The Westdale was the first theatre in Hamilton built expressly to show sound motion pictures. The theatre remained in operation until it was put up for sale in December of 2016. The newly incorporated Westdale Cinema Group (WCG) submitted an offer to purchase the building that was accepted on January 27, 2017.

The full purchase and restoration budget was raised in Hamilton, by Hamiltonians, both residents and the City of Hamilton. After over 18 months of restoration and modernization of services (washrooms, wheelchair access, heating and air conditioning, etc.), the theatre reopened its doors on February 14, 2019 as a cultural hub showcasing films, talks, music, performance, and special events.

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