Support The RIO's Fight Against The Liquor Control Board

Dec 19 2017, 1:21 pm

A couple of days ago the Rio Theatre claimed victory as it was allowed to serve alcohol while showing movies. However, that is no longer the case as the archaic hand of the government has swooped in yet again.

Yesterday the province of BC LCB issued a condition on their license stating the following:

“By regulation, movie theatres are prohibited from applying for a liquor primary license. Under current regulations and policies, you cannot operate as a licensed live theatre at some times and an unlicensed movie theatre at others. Therefore the following term and condition will be placed on your liquor primary license:

This establishment is not permitted to show movies or any type of cinematic screenings at any time.”

To clarify, The RIO’s expectation was to continue having film screenings without bar service and only utilize our liquor license when we have 19+ Live Events. Since we received this information we have agreed to the condition placed on our license which is planned to be issued on Monday, January 23th, 2012. This means that all of our future Film Screenings will be canceled unless this condition can be removed.

Naturally they very disappointed that this condition has been placed on them by the LCB, as this means they will no longer be able to show  community film events such as their Midnight Movies, Movies For Mommies, The Friends of Dorothy Queer Film series, the DOXA and Out on Screen Film Festival, to name a few. In addition, they will no longer be able to support Independent film screenings for local animators and filmmakers, creating a huge void in Vancouver’s cultural fabric.

Here’s how you, the citizens of Vancouver can help:

Help petition the LCB and your local MLA to let The Rio serve liquor and show movies again!


If you want to help The Rio, and show your support for it, you can help in the following ways:

Contact the BC Liquor Control and Licensing Branch:

Liquor Control and Licensing Branch
Ministry of Housing and Social Development
PO Box 9292 Stn Prov Govt
Victoria, BC V8W 9J8
Tel: (250) 387-1254 in Victoria
Toll-Free: 1-866-209-2111
E-mail: [email protected]

Let them know that you are unhappy with their decision regarding The Rio, and that the laws preventing theatres from serving alcohol are outdated and need to be changed. Here is a form letter you can use if you like, courtesy of Tyler Nicol:

To the LCB,
I am a patron and supporter of the Rio Theatre located at the corner of Broadway and Commercial. As such it has not only saddened, but angered me, to hear that its long tradition of unique cinema and artist supporting film-festivals is being silenced. The reasons for these shuttered projections seem chiefly a set of outdated laws, which are being strictly enforced by the fine officials of your organization.

This damages the city, not only in a very real way of robbing it of one of its few remaining venues for indie cinema, but also in a larger view of being pictured as an internationally recognized city that respects and supports its artists. We are a film city proud and true, full of performers, creators, and imaginative workers who tirelessly push to bring the best of us to the screen. However this is seen as a lesser task to say the more noble pursuits of bowling or arena sports and truck rallies which seem entirely acceptable forms of entertainment to serve alcohol along with.

I speak for many when I ask of you to look back on this outdated ruling and allow this and many other venues to flourish in a city that needs and deserves outlets to grow and share in.

Thank you very much for your time,

Image: Greg McMullen

DH Vancouver StaffDH Vancouver Staff

+ News