Penticton’s Pen-Mar filled with memories

As new theatre opens in Penticton, entertainment editor remembers working on the sticky floors of the Pen-Mar

Sticky floors be gone.

We have been a patient bunch, us movie-goers in Penticton. And finally, today it has all paid off. The glimmering, modern-looking building that has gone up downtown is the home of our new Landmark Cinema 7 Penticton. And, compared to the Pen-Mar, it is a mansion.

I caught myself forgetting that I was in this luxurious new theatre for just a second at a special VIP night on Wednesday, but the wall-to-wall screen brought me back. By habit, I was leaning forward in my chair, trying to keep my legs and arms to myself, when I realized there was actually a head rest I could lean into; and could even spread out a little as I wasn’t encroaching on anyone’s bubble.

As much as I love this new shiny and high-tech theatre, I will always remember the Pen-Mar. It is a bittersweet farewell to a place I worked at behind the concession and as a projectionist.

While popcorn messes and pop spills are no longer part of my life, the memories of working at the Pen-Mar will be the ones that stick. I forged many friendships with the people I worked with, and now, well over a decade later, I am still friends with many of those same people that put on those hideous clip-on maroon bow-ties and buttery aprons each night.

It was a place where work and social lives collided. Even well after shifts were over, I can remember hanging around the theatre — much to the dismay of our non-theatre friends who were also forced to wait for us there.

We would meet for late-night staff showings to preview movies coming out the next day, plaster the windows with black garbage bags and run around the theatre playing laser tag after hours, dance as we cleaned the auditoriums in between matinees and evening shows and would try and one-up each other in sales at the concession. Co-workers dated, broke up and became friends and did it all over again. For others, it was where they took the first steps to building a life together — the sales manager at the Western News met his wife when they both worked at the Pen-Mar.

As a movie-goer, I wont miss the dark, outdated Pen-Mar. Computerized touch screens in the new theatre glow everywhere. Bright LCD screens dot the walls, replacing the brassy coloured, dusty poster frames at the Pen-Mar. As for the movies themselves, they no longer come in canisters full of film, everything is digital.

Now that I am older, it is easy to see where that family and friends type of atmosphere originated at the Pen-Mar. It is evident in how the company runs itself.

On Wednesday, head office staff from Landmark Cinemas, who have probably travelled to Penticton more than any other place these past few years, took time to thank some of their partners, many of whom have worked with the company building theatres for over 20 years. Amazing in a time where the lowest bid usually wins over loyalty.

They thanked the Gerrits family, who sat on the potentially valuable piece of land that the theatre is built on for a long time, waiting for what they wanted to see in downtown Penticton. Opportunities may have been passed up, but they had a vision of what was needed in the city’s core, like many others in local government and business who supported the initiative.

While the Pen-Mar is no longer, the new building will take on its namesake and be a true landmark in the community.




Kristi Patton is the entertainment editor with the Penticton Western News.



Just Posted

Geordie Fife exits the dunk tank during 2017’s Discovery House Father’s Day festivities at Skaha Lake Park. The fundraiser helps raise awareness of the work done at the house and break down the stigma associated with addiction. (Western News File)
Discovery House Father’s Day fundraiser goes digital

The addiction recovery program will be rolling out videos ahead of the fundraiser

The proposed design of the five-storey building on Front Street. (City of Penticton)
Five-storey building proposed for Penticton’s Front Street

It will be the second time the proposal will head to council

“65 years, I’ve carried the stories in my mind and live it every day,” says Jack Kruger. (Athena Bonneau)
‘Maybe this time they will listen’: Survivor shares stories from St. Eugene’s residential school

Jack Kruger, living in Syilx territory, wasn’t surprised by news of 215 children’s remains found on the grounds of the former Kamloops Indian Residential School

RCMP thanked the public for assistance in finding Benjamin Archie, last seen in Princeton. (RCMP)
Missing Chilliwack man found safe and sound

The 80-year-old had walked away from his home in Chilliwack

57-year-old Kathleen Richardson was discovered deceased in her home Wednesday, June 9, 2021. Her death is considered a homicide and connected to the slain brothers found on a Naramata forest road. (Submitted)
Naramata community in shock as condolences pour in for homicide victim Kathy Richardson

Richardson was well liked in the community, a volunteer firefighter with a home-based salon

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

A logging truck carries its load down the Elaho Valley near in Squamish, B.C. in this file photo. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chuck Stoody
Squamish Nation calls for old-growth logging moratorium in its territory

The nation says 44% of old-growth forests in its 6,900-square kilometre territory are protected while the rest remain at risk

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

(Heather Lueck image)
Crash north of Enderby knocks out power, slows Highway 97A traffic

A witness captured footage of a medical helicopter landing at the scene

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Most Read