Previous Projects

Mapping Canadian Movie Theaters (2006 – 2009)

Note: This database has not been updated since 2010

Movie Theaters Spatial Distribution

Some methodological notes

In order to get coherent movie theaters data all over the Canadian territory, we had to compile different databases including Film Canada Year Book (which provides the number of rooms and seats per establishment) and Cinemaclock (which provides the address of the theaters).

The compilation of this database emphasized the discrepancies that existed within previous databases. Indeed, if large theaters owned by corporate chains are very well referenced, small theaters managed independently proved to be much more difficult to locate. This difficulty increased for theaters opened only a few seasons (eg, drive-ins) and for places where films remain a marginal activity, such as schools, concert halls, theaters, associations, community centers, independent festivals, etc. On October 5th, 2010, 758 entries were added to the database across Canada, including 625 cinemas, 28 drive-ins, and 103 others (eg, school, theater, etc.).

This database was then georeferenced from movie theaters’ postal code. Canadian postal codes can be very accurate in urban areas (at the scale of a building), and roughest in rural area… Nevertheless, this bias is offset by the fact that the points representing the postal codes in rural areas are located within the main villages where are usually found movie theaters. The 758 points in the database have been georeferenced from the DMTI Spatial Postal CanMap Geography, which is a 2001 postal codes database.

Screens’ accessibility

Building on the movie theater database, we have developed a series of maps to study the sociodemographic profiles of the populations living near by these theaters throughout Canada. The goal was to look for similarities and differences between movies theaters and their potential audiences across Canada.

“Analysis of the data illustrates the different spatial strategies of Canada’s largest cinema chains, both nationally and locally. While the spatial distribution of the cinemas of certain chains is relatively even across the country, it is more regional and local in others. Concerning the socioeconomic profiles of district locations, some chains tend to prefer high-income areas; others favour lower-income neighbourhoods. An in-depth analysis of sociodemographic profiles, on the other hand, does not reveal any significant difference in terms of cinema accessibility.” (Caquard, Naud and Périchon 2009)

Based on the results we did a series of statistical analysis to see if there were some relationships between sociodemographic profiles and movie theaters “accessibility” (based on the distance to existing movie theaters). The results of this analysis was that at the scale of Canada, the only criteria that affect spatial accessibility is the density of population. Whatever your age, income and immigration status if you live in more densely populated area you will have access to more screens and vice-versa. Nevertheless there are some important local discrepancies as illustrated in the following maps:

KML files are created with ArcGIS and Shp2kml. They can be opened with Google Earth.

Canadian Movie Theaters Sociodemographic profiles (2006 Census)

Some methodological notes

The creation of the service areas database is based on the Canadian Movie Theaters Spatial Distribution. The geolocation of the theaters was the first necessary step before trying to build their socio-demographic profile.

Service areas for all Canadian theaters were generated from the Canadian road network (CanMap RouteLogistics, DMTI Spatial, 2001) and the module ArcGIS Network Analyst 9.2. A service area is the area formed by the distance covered in 5 minutes (10 minutes in rural areas) from a cinema. This distance of 5 minutes corresponds to a car ride at the maximum allowed speed, under optimum conditions (no traffic lights, no traffic jam, etc..). Once produced, these service areas were used to aggregate socio-demographic data from the census at the subdivisions level (Statistics Canada 2001). The values for each census subdivision (eg, population, average age, etc..) have been aggregated by service area as a function of the area represented by each census subdivision within each service area. In other words, a service area covering 50% of a census subdivision was allocated 50% of socio-demographic effectives from this census subdivision. This method can estimate the socio-demographic characteristics of neighborhoods in which each theater draws much of its audience. Each film has therefore been assigned a socio-demographic profile defined in terms of its service area.

For a deeper analysis of the movie theaters’ spatial distribution, we suggest this article (French only):

Caquard S., Naud D., and Perichon V. 2009. “La répartition des salles obscures canadiennes: un éclairage géographique”, Cahiers de géographie du Québec 53 (149): 221-241.

In the spirit of the Creative commons, data collected and created in the context of this project are available to visitors and researchers, provided that three conditions are met:

  • Attribution: You must attribute the work in the manner specified by the author or licensor (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse you or your use of the work).
  • Noncommercial : You may not use this work for commercial purposes.
  • Share Alike: If you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one.

Mapping Film Audiences (2006 – 2009)

The original Cybercartographic Atlas of Canadian is an experimental atlas that was released in 2009. It was designed to explore original ways of mapping the relationships between narrative territories and audiences territories (i.e. where films take place and where the audiences of these films are). Four Canadian films have been mapped and studied in this part of the project.

Since this atlas has not been maintained since 2009, some of its functions don’t work properly anymore. Nevertheless we think it is important to keep allowing people to access it and to look at its slow disaggregation… Its access requires a HIGH SPEED INTERNET CONNEXION and a recent version of SAFARI, FIREFOX or CHROME. It is based on the Nunaliit Framework. Due to the advanced, standards compliant nature of the technology powering the atlas, IT DOES NOT WORK PROPERLY WITH INTERNET EXPLORER. In order to hear the interactive audio available in some modules, you will need to have a recent version of Java installed. In addition, video is delivered in the advanced H.264 MPEG-4 format and the QuickTime player may be required for your system to view it.


To have a better sense of the original content of this atlas you can watch these three videos:

Bon Cop Bad Cop, Reception Vs. Action (

Atanarjuat International Recognition (

Sociodemographic profiles & Reception (