The lights will come on again!


The ByTowne is now closed. But there's good news!

After the pandemic has been brought under control,
new management will take over the space and the ByTowne will re-open.

It may take a while for pandemic restrictions to be eased enough
that a feasible number of patrons can be allowed to watch a movie again,
but the new owners are working towards that day.

To stay informed about developments, subscribe to our free e-newsletter.
There's a sign-up box on our home page.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Will you be playing [film title] in the near future?

Movie release dates change all the time, so we're not sure of anything beyond the current listings in our calendar.

Many people ask us about the likelihood of a particular film coming to the ByTowne (or coming back). But giving inaccurate information to curious movie fans is much worse than saying "Heck, we don't know". So our answer to all these questions is the same: Heck, we don't know.

When we DO know, we'll post the film and dates on this web site. And when the dates are imminent, we'll remind you about the screenings in Cinemail, our weekly newsletter. To subscribe to Cinemail, jump back to our home page and find the black box near the bottom of the page.


See also: "Why don't you answer my e-mail?"

Q: I am a Senior. Why do I have to buy a Membership?

No-one has to buy a ByTowne Membership. But if you come to the movies often, it's a good idea. Here's our pitch.

Vanessa Redgrave has her MembershipWe don't offer a lower price for Seniors. But we do offer Seniors a half-price deal on purchasing an annual Membership, which lowers their admission price by $4 on most films. For $7.50 per year, any Senior (65 and over) can take advantage of the Member’s admission price of $9.50.

We believe that our lowest ticket price should be offered not on the basis of age -- which is kind of arbitrary -- but as a reward for 'frequent flying'. Someone who rarely goes to the movies or who visits from out of town hasn’t really done much to earn a loyalty discount. We sell Memberships because they make sense -- and savings -- for people who come regularly, no matter their age.

So, Seniors, please join the club! Next time you come to the ByTowne, ask the cashier for a Senior Membership ($7.50) and an admission ticket ($9.50). After the initial $17 investment, you’ll get the Member’s price at all our regularly priced movies for a full 12 months.

Q: Where is the ByTowne and how do I get there?

The basics: The ByTowne Cinema is located on Rideau Street, between King Edward Avenue and Nelson Street.

The detailed: More information (including directions and parking info) can be found on this page.

Q: How much does it cost to come to the movies?

Our regular show ticket prices (effective since July 2020) are:

  • $13.50 for Non-Members
  • $9.50 for ByTowne Members
  • $7.00 for Children under 12

Unless otherwise noted on the film's description page, separate admission is required for each film. Prices above apply at most shows, 7 days a week. There are some exceptions: Opera and National Theatre cinema events, special festival screenings and charity fundraisers are a few examples. 

Tickets bought at Member price must be presented to the usher with a valid, signed Membership card. Please don't ask our usher to break the rules. For information about buying a ByTowne Membership, see Ticket Prices/Memberships.

Q: What is a membership and what does it get me?

The Basics
ByTowne memberships cost $15.00 and are valid for 12 months from the time of purchase. Seniors who present proof of age and and full-time students with valid ID from a secondary or post-secondary institution can buy a half-price annual membership for just $7.50. Either kind of membership card entitles you to the discounted admission price of $9.50 per film, and a 10% discount on all snacks at the ByTowne concession stand.

How to Buy

Sample ByTowne membership cardYou may purchase a membership at the box office when you join us for a movie. The total cost is then $24.50 ($15 Membership + $9.50 ticket) or $17.00 for Students and Seniors ($7.50 Membership + $9.50 ticket).

The membership card should be signed in the space provided and must be presented to the usher as you're handing over your ticket to her/him. Keep your Membership handy, because you'll want to show it at the concession stand when you're buying snacks!

Membership also includes a free subscription to Cinemail, our weekly newsletter. To sign up, look for the black box near the bottom of our home page.

Please note that a ByTowne membership card is not transferable; it is for your personal use only. And sorry, we do not replace lost or stolen cards.

Buying by Mail
You may also purchase a membership through the mail at the slightly higher cost of $17.00 ($8.50 for Seniors and Students) to cover postage and handling.

Send a cheque to:
ByTowne Cinema, 
325 Rideau Street, 
Ottawa ON  K1N 5Y4

Please include a clearly visible return address.

Q: When and where can I buy tickets?

Zee ByTowne Guy finds his ticketTickets can be purchased in person or online.

In Person: Our box office opens 30 minutes prior to the first screening of the day. Once it's open, you may buy tickets for any upcoming show. If it appears in our on-line calendar, tickets are available (with only a few exceptions). We still prefer cash at our box office, but we also accept Debit Cards (tap, please!) 

Online: On this site, navigate to the movie you want to see and find the "Buy Tickets" button on its page, or go directly to the ticketing site. Purchases can be made with Visa or MasterCard only, and booking fees apply. Pro tip: Make sure you're buying tickets for the correct DATE and TIME. ByTowne shows are like luggage on an airport carousel; many screenings look alike!

For more tips, see How To Buy Tickets Online.

Q: What are ‘vouchers’? And how are they different from advance tickets?

Originally designed to be gift certificates, our pre-paid Vouchers are very popular with regular moviegoers who want to skip the box office queue. Members can use our $9.50 Vouchers and Non-Members can use our $13.50 Vouchers. They can be bought well in advance, and they never expire.

Buy as many Vouchers as you like from the cashier on your next visit. After that, you can skip the box office line-up and go straight to the usher, or to the Ticket Holders line-up if we haven't yet finished with the previous movie. When you get to the usher, hand over a Pre-Paid Voucher (and show your Membership if you're using an Member Voucher) – and you're in! Convenient AND speedier!

The Vouchers, unlike an advance ticket, can be used at any show. In a way, they're like carrying one card that's worth the admission price in exact change. But they don't absolutely guarantee admission, so arrive with 20 or more minutes to spare if you think there's a chance of a full house.


And yes, Vouchers are a great gift idea, too. The Non-Member Vouchers are ideal for people you'd like to introduce to the ByTowne; Member Vouchers are best for people you know who are already card-carrying Members.

Q: My wallet was stolen. How do I get a replacement Membership Card?

Sorry, we can't replace lost or stolen Membership Cards. They don't have any sophisticated bar codes or other way of cancelling their validity. When one falls into the wrong hands, it's still valid, and could be in use until its expiry.

There's even the possibility that a dishonest person (not you!) could invent a story, get a replacement card, and use the second Membership for a spouse or friend. We know this isn't what you'd like to hear, but when it's gone, it's gone.

The good news is that, on average, a lost card is likely to be several months old. You may already have enjoyed more in savings than you spent on the lost card, and buying a new one gets you a full 12 months of savings all over again.

Q: Can I print my own copy of the calendar?

Yes, absolutely! We recommend one for the office and one for your fridge door.

Go to this link to find a printer-friendly calendar of this month's movies, and often a peek into the next. It's in an easy-to-read format that prints very nicely on a standard 8 x 11 page, in colour or b&w.

Q: Why don't you answer my e-mail?

Zee ByTowne Guy, a bit upsetWe make an effort to reply to (almost) all e-mails. If you write us and haven’t received a reply in a week, something has gone wrong (the internet still isn't perfect) and you should re-send, or simply call us at the office: (613) 789-4600.
There is one category of e-mail that we don’t reply to, though; those which ask something like “Will you be playing ______ in the near future?” We really like hearing from you about which new films you’re interested in (and we especially love it when you include links to the movie’s site, or to a review you spotted), but we really don’t know when they are coming. To keep our work load to a reasonable level, we respectfully ask that you suggest films to us without asking when they will show up. When we know the answer, we’ll post the movies here on our web site.

Q: How long has the ByTowne been around?

The ByTowne's a spin-off of the old Towne Cinema that lived on Beechwood Avenue in New Edinburgh. We've been at our 325 Rideau St. location since 1988. The cinema itself was built in 1947 and was called the Nelson Theatre.

Q: Can we have more light before the show?

Could we have a bit more light in the cinema before the show, so that we can browse the upcoming schedule?


Back before our 2013 renovations, the low light level in the auditorium was, admittedly, a bit convenient. The tired look of the interior paint job and the imperfect upholstery looked better in the semi-darkness.
We got used to that ambiance over the years, and although the paint job and new seats now look fantastic, the calming atmosphere of the underlit auditorium seems familiar, cozy and ByTowne-ish.
As a compromise, some extra lights were added on the main level’s back wall, so pre-screening reading is quite pleasant in the back four or five rows. But the rest of the auditorium is lit for conversation, and well, we just like it that way.

Q: Why are the balcony seats different?

The balcony seats are smaller and less comfortable than the lovely red ones on the main level. Why?


Sorry, but the balcony seats are definitely more upright and 'spartan' than those on the main level. The problem is that the dimensions of the balcony steps can’t accommodate a more modern, luxurious cinema seat. The stepped floor up there gives us a limited amount of platform to mount the seats on. Those steps were set in concrete in 1947, when customers were smaller and legroom wasn’t very generous, so the bigger new seats just won’t fit.

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