Clova Cinema plans ‘Amazing Race: Cloverdale’

The Sept. 1 race around Cloverdale is the latest in the family-owned, single screen's efforts to raise cash for switch to digital.

The Clova Cinema at 5731 176 Street in historic Cloverdale town centre.

Think you’ve got what it takes to win The Amazing Race: Cloverdale?

Look no further than the Clova Cinema. Cloverdale’s family-run movie house is inviting teams to sign up for its latest, creative fundraiser.

On Sunday, Sept. 1, teams will race around Cloverdale against other groups, but unlike the popular reality TV series that pits various duos and couples zooming across the globe, or its new Canadian version, this Amazing Race is for groups of four to six people who will be stopping in at various businesses in the historic town centre.

The race starts at the Clova at 5731 176 Street, where groups will receive the first clue that will lead them to the correct next location for their next clue.

“If you can guess all the locations, the final one will bring you back to the Clova where you will receive your prize,” says Samantha LeDrew, a long-time staffer who’s organizing the event.

There are prizes for the first three groups to finish the race, along with participating prizes for all the teams. An unspecified number of local businesses are taking part.

Volunteers are also needed.

“This will be a great opportunity for any students needing some volunteer experience for school,” LeDrew added.

The family-owned, single screen movie house has been saving up to purchase a much-needed digital projection system to replace Ethel and Martha, the Clova’s 35-mm projectors.

Major motion picture studios are moving to digital-only movie releases and phasing out film, meaning any theatre that doesn’t invest tens of thousands of dollars will no longer have access to new movies.

Clova owner Craig Burghardt is reluctant to charge higher ticket prices to cover the expense, even though the conversion is necessary or the business will have to close its doors.

And while the situation is urgent, this week there was a positive sign that the cinema won’t be going dark anytime soon.

“We may have a good line on going digital soon, just need our landlord to work with us,” Burghardt revealed in the Clova’s latest newsletter.

Previous digital fundraisers have included a November, 2012 pop concert featuring live, local bands, and a Valentine’s Day double bill of classic romances Casablanca and The Notebook.

The Amazing Race: Cloverdale gets underway on Sunday afternoon, Sept. 1.

Participants are asked to arrive at the Clova at 1:45 p.m. The entry fee is $5 for kids aged 4 to 12, and $10 for teens and adults aged 13 and up.

Enter in groups of four to six. It’s a family-friendly event, so any age can enter, but there must be at least one parent or guardian per group.

Those who don’t have anyone to enter with can be added to another group.

The Clova opened in 1947. It was built through the sale of $1,000 bonds. They were snapped up by Cloverdalians who were eager for a local movie theatre, recognizing it as an important community amenity.

It closed in the early 1980s, when Odeon was converting its theatres into multiplexes, and decided to sell the Clova, and eventually housed a video rental. It was rescued by businessman Jeff Larsen who re-opened it as the Clova Cinema in 1992.

Burghardt, who’s owned the theatre for 17 years, has always strived to keep tickets and concession items affordable for patrons (the Clova is home to the famous Bring Your Own Container discount on drinks and popcorn), and the cinema is rented out for charity fundraisers and birthday parties.

Email for more information, or visit

See related stories:

“Pop concert the first stop on the Clova Cinema’s Road to Digital,” Nov. 7, 2012.

“Here’s looking at you, kid: romance reigns at the Clova on Valentine’s Day, Feb. 6, 2013.

“A Cloverdale Classic Turns 65,” May 23, 2012.

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