At 82, former Dollar Cinema owner is back to the movie theatre business

At 82, former Dollar Cinema owner is back to the movie theatre business

For many seniors, retirement is a time to prioritize rest and relaxation as they begin a new chapter in their lives.

But 82-year-old Bernie Gurberg isn’t like most; one year into his retirement, he’s headed back to work.

For 18 years, he made a name for himself as the owner of Dollar Cinema, offering a cinematic experience at an affordable price. He closed the theatre last year, and quickly discovered the job was still calling.

Luckily, his son Bruce owns his own theatre. You can now find Gurberg greeting customers as they head to CineStarz Deluxe at the Cavendish Mall.

“If you’re retired, you say ‘What am I going to do today — go to a coffee shop, or go to a museum?’ This is way more fun.”

Having fun, meeting people, and getting as much face time with them as possible is what he missed most in his retirement. Gurberg adores his customers so much he has even played a part in their major life moments.

At 82, former Dollar Cinema owner is back to the movie theatre businessThe former owner of Dollar Cinema, Bernie Gurberg is back to the cinema business. (CTV News / Lauren Fernandez)

“I had situations where a guy would ask me, ‘I want to propose to my girlfriend in your theatre’ and I let him use the theatre. Fifteen minutes later, they came out, and all the friends were hugging each other. So those are good memories. Using that place for more than just watching a movie,” he said.

Gurberg said he’s met closed to two million people from all kinds of backgrounds over the years, and when the opportunity to help others presented itself, he did whatever he could to give back to his community.

“I had some customers who were having difficulties at their jobs, with several kids, and I remember many times when moms or dads with their kids would come and they were telling their kids, ‘You can only have this, each one of you, one thing.’ I would listen to this. I’d ask permission from the parent, ‘Would it be okay if I give them this item?’ So when that happened, the looks on the parents, the looks on the kids – money can’t buy that,” he said.

It’s always been more than a job for Gurberg, who said: “If you love your job, you never worked a day in your life. That sums it all up.”