The Westdale Theatre

Nestled in between a pizza place and a hipster restaurant in the student area of Westdale, and a minute’s walk from my house, is a quaint little independent cinema called the Westdale Theatre.  It opened in 1935, and offers a nice change to the huge cineplexes that cover North America, although it’s certainly showing it’s age (and rather unfortunately due to the failing neon sign, it sometimes looks to be called the std Theatre).

Westdale Cinema landscape

I was quite surprised to find the theatre when I arrived in Hamilton. In fact, I walked past it at least twice in my first week before even realising it was there.  Fortunately though, going and watching a film there became a semi-regular thing with one of my housemates and was a good way for us to bond.

Westdale Theatre colour

They show a variety of films; a lot of English independent films, but also some foreign films, and every once in a while they show a big blockbuster.  The first film I saw there was The Man who knew Infinity, a relatively small BBC film. Over the next few months, I also saw Café Society, Denial, Moonlight and The Sense of an Ending.  I personally enjoyed Café Society the most;  it stars Jesse Eisenberg and Kristen Stewart in the golden age of Hollywood and is full of rich colours and jazzy music.

Westdale Theatre black and white

Whilst most of these films had reasonable budgets (most were even made by the BBC), they didn’t receive massive promotional campaigns that most films nowadays do.  Previously when I’d go to the cinema, I’d want to go to see a specific film I’d seen advertised.  In Westdale, rather than go to see something I already knew a lot about, I’d go in knowing very little, and that added to the enjoyment for me.  Every time I went to the cinema, I didn’t quite know what to expect but I always ended up enjoying it. And isn’t that what a year abroad’s about?

Written by Luke Swallow – McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada 

Additional photos sourced from 


One thought on “The Westdale Theatre

  1. Hey! I wanted to say first, welcome to Hamilton, and second, I am so pleased you were able to experience Westdale Theatre. Not sure if you knew this but it has closed now for the better part of a year for renovations. It was sold over the winter to the WEstdale Cinema Group, a non-profit that is going to restore and renew the theatre to open again as a theatre but also feature community events as well. I don’t usually do this, but wanted to share my post about the theatre I wrote on Monday, the day after the last screening. Hope you enjoy it. Thanks again for spreading the word about this awesome place.

    Liked by 1 person

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