Toronto business partners/indie movie buffs take over ByTowne Cinema


Daniel Demois and Andy Willick, a pair of repertory-cinema owners from Toronto, say they’re thrilled to add Ottawa’s Bytowne Cinema to their roster of independent movie houses. 

“The ByTowne is such a beloved space, and we are thrilled to become a part of its rich history,” the business partners said in a statement, touching on some of the updates planned for the Rideau Street landmark. 

Those plans include obtaining a liquor licence, introducing a new membership system and developing a virtual cinema to allow for remote viewing of select titles. 

Demois and Willick, who have owned and operated Toronto’s Fox Theatre since 2007 and Kitchener’s Apollo Cinema since 2014, are taking over the ByTowne from long-time owner Bruce White, who announced his retirement last year after 32 years in the business.

In the statement, the new owners expressed their admiration for the ByTowne and its “uncompromising vision.” They described it as “not just critical to Ottawa’s film scene, but to the Canadian film industry as a whole.”

They plan to continue the eclectic programming. 

“When it reopens, The ByTowne will continue on as a space that brings curious minds together, shining a light on the important, though often under-recognized aspects of cinema,” Willick said. “Our main focus is to continue that tradition.” 

For his part, White is confident the cinema is in capable hands. “I’m beyond excited to see these two carry on the ByTowne story,” he said.