In 2010, Canada’s Technology Triangle Inc. moved from its offices in the CIGI Seagram Building (in Waterloo) to The Synergy Centre (in Kitchener). A location previously home to the King’s College Square Cinemas (until 2004), and before that, The Century Theatre (1928 – 1961).
Despite the location’s shift in business ventures, the cinematic theme still abounds… coming attractions are now business attractions, foreign films have been replaced with foreign direct investments and instead of the musical ‘Billy Elliott’ we are now showing VP of Business Development – Bill Elliot. Original light fixtures, glass panels, doors and stairs from the buildings previous offer a theatrical atmosphere. Projection rooms are now board rooms, theatres have been converted into open concept offices and lobbies have been adapted into… lobbies.
Though Kitchener no longer enjoys a downtown cinema, the city and the Region are still home to cutting edge visual technologies. Recently, Kitchener was selected (along with St. John’s and Calgary) as a pilot location for IMAX’s new digital installations. This celebrates a type of homecoming for IMAX, since the IMAX camera and projection system was created in Cambridge by three Galt Collegiate Institute classmates: Graeme Ferguson, Robert Kerr and William Shaw over 40 years ago. IMAX Corporation has since grown to over 500 hundred theatres operated in over 40 countries.
Prior to this, Electrohome, founded in Kitchener in 1907, became one of Canada’s largest manufacturers of television sets from 1949 – 1984. Its reputation was based on its heavy floor models boxed in hardwood cases – relics that can now almost exclusively be found in the homes of our grandparents, waiting to throw out the backs of any grandchild kind enough to volunteer to help move them. In 1984, Electrohome ceased producing television sets as competition from Japanese producers grew. By 1999, Electrohome Projection Systems was acquired by Christie Digital, a company which offers world-class projection displays and digital solutions. In April of this year, Christie announced plans to expand its Kitchener operations. This is likely due to its growing operations: of the 140,000 movie theatres globally, 50,000 use digital projection and nearly half of those use a Christie projector.
Through the past century, the innovation in the Region of Waterloo continues to advance the world of film projection, and the small cinema start-up Cineflow, which specializes in equipment and software to edit, organize and manage digital images, is no exception. Interruptions to the Sony supply chain have provided Cineflow with the opportunity to expand its business internationally.
So the next time you are here exploring CTT’s new offices, catching up on the latest Dan for Mayor (filmed locally) or watching Mike Lazaridis polish his 1999 Academy Award, remember that although Waterloo’s movie star status is often eclipsed by our neighbour Toronto and the Toronto International Film Festival; this region has made major contributions to the film industry and continues to do so.