75 years of memories

Nick Seebruch
75 years of memories
Larry Sylvain and his son Nick stand on stage at the 75th anniversary of The Port theatre on Monday

CORNWALL, Ontario – One of Cornwall’s oldest institutions celebrated its 75 year legacy on Monday, Dec.26.

It was on Boxing Day 1941 that the Port Theatre, then known as the Roxy Theatre first opened its doors. The Abbot and Costello classic Buck Privates was the first movie to be shown on the Port’s big screen, airing at 8 p.m. that night and patrons were lined up around the block to pay their 25 cents to see the comedy show in Cornwall’s new theatre.

Roxy, was a franchise theatre chain and nine other Roxy theatres were built in 1941, but Cornwall’s Port Theatre is the only one that is left standing.

The theatre is currently owned by Larry Sylvain and his wife.

“I’m a keeper of The Port,” Sylvain said on the night of the big celebration. “It sort of mirrors being a lighthouse keeper. We own it on paper, but we are the keepers of it for the community.”

At the celebrations on Dec. 26, Cornwall’s Little Historian Sara Lauzon MC’d the evening’s proceedings and shared some of the history and her own favourite memories of The Port.

In 1966, The Port, (then Roxy) briefly closed and opened under new management under its current name.

Sara fondly remembered Glenn MacGillivary, the projectionist at The Port for 40 years and her first boss when she started working there.

Also on the menu that night was a screening of Buck Privates and like in 1941, when the movie was the first to be screened at the new theatre, admission was 25 cents.

Sylvain has endeavoured to make The Port more than a movie theatre and bring new entertainment to Cornwall. This has included bands and musicians such as Paul Deslauriers, a Queen tribute band which is coming on St. Patrick’s Day 2017 and Ring of Fire, a Johnny Cash tribute band featuring Cash’s original drummer.

Sylvain has also brought comedy acts to Cornwall, earlier in 2016, he brought famed Canadian comedian Mike MacDonald to The Port on an event card that featured acts from both Yuk Yuk’s and Just for Laughs.

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