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The end of the road for Kingston Family FunWorld

August 2023

What started as a rural drive-in theatre in 1966, north of Kingston on McAdoo’s Lane, would later be transformed into a small outdoor entertainment centre in the mid 1990s. Now, it’s all gone, with the property awaiting re-development.

The Drive-In opened in 1966, as The 66, with the Mustang Drive-In chain buying the theatre two years later, and operating it under their name until 1993.

In 1995, Dan Wannemacher bought the drive-in and re-named it Kingston Family FunWorld. Over the next five years, Wannemacher and his family added additional entertainment venues, such as a mini-putt, go-karts, batting tents and 2 additional movie screens. Kingston Family FunWorld, became an entertainment staple in Kingston’s, and the only drive-in movie theatre in Kingston.

In July 2016, Dan Wannemacher suddenly died of a heart attack, leaving his widow Ruth and the family to carry on the business. Three years later, it all came to an end.

The drive-in movie screens showed their last movie on 1 September 2019. The go-karts remained in operation until the end of September, after which the 35 employees of Kingston Family FunWorld closed the doors for the last time.

The property has been sold and the new owner has made an amendment application to the City’s Official Plan to allow for the creation of a metal recycling yard, AIM Recycling, and an auto-parts and automobile recycling operation, Kenny U-Pull, on the site.

The former site of the standard-bred Kingston Park Raceway facility, on the neighbouring property directly to the south, closed back in 1995. The grandstand was demolished in April 2022, but most of the five-eighths mile oval track remains for now.

Celebrity Guests

Actor Dan Aykroyd and singer Avril Lavigne, both of whom are originally from the area, were both regulars at the drive-in in the past. Kingston-based band The Glorious Sons recorded a music video at the site.

Sources: Kingston Family FunWorld (funworldpark.com), Bidding a ‘bittersweet’ farewell to Kingston Family FunWorld – Kingston | Globalnews.ca, New owner of old Family Fun World property seeks to convert it to auto wrecker yard – Kingston News (kingstonist.com), ‘I know they’re going to be sad to see it go’ | The Kingston Whig Standard (thewhig.com), Remembering Kingston Park | Standardbred Canada.

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

Permanent link to this article: https://militarybruce.com/the-end-of-the-road-for-kingston-family-funworld/

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