“For me, the Rio is my home, my life and everything I want to do. I love it.”
“This place is like a home for people. People tell me they moved to the area because of it, people have gotten married here, or met their future wife or husband here. This is where people have made new friends and had experiences that moved them. It’s really important. It’s emotional.”
Corinne Lea is speaking about her beloved Rio Theatre, an independent movie theatre and multimedia venue that she operates in Vancouver. “For me, the Rio is my home, my life and everything I want to do,” Corinne adds. “I love it.”
It’s this dedication that drove her to raise nearly $8 million to buy the Rio when it was put up for sale at the beginning of 2018. With the help of a Vancity mortgage, a slew of local investors and a record-breaking crowdfunding campaign, Corinne realized her dream in September of that year.
To raise the $7.9 million she needed, Corinne turned to Vancity for a $4,775,000 mortgage. She also organized a petition with more than 22,000 signatures, raised $500,000 through crowdfunding – a record for an independent movie theatre – and secured a grant from the City of Vancouver of $375,000. In addition, 190 community investors contributed to the total.
Jenn McGinn is the Vancity community business account manager who arranged the mortgage.“There’s this overall sense that everything in Vancouver is being sold off to the highest bidder,” she says. “I really marvel at [Corinne’s] entrepreneurship because it just seemed to be an insurmountable challenge at first.”
For Corinne, despite many challenges along the way, all the effort she put in has finally paid off. “Deep down, I always knew that somehow we were going to save this place because I knew that people wouldn’t let it go,” she says. “It just means so much to them.”