This past year I made several trips to photograph Trans Canada Adult Video on Macleod Trail SW, the largest independent adult video store in Calgary and one of a dozen or so adult movie stores left here. Trans Canada Adult Video is one of the most popular adult video stores in the city; in the 1980s it used to bring in $1,800 a night. Customers paid a yearly membership fee of $60, $100 for a lifetime membership. It was a major stop for busloads of British soldiers headed south to the Canadian Forces Base at Suffield. Then a porn video chain opened up stores in Calgary, offering no membership fees and much lower prices; business slowed. The proliferation of porn on the internet in recent years has slowed business even more.
Today, the customers are mostly fifty or older, some are in their eighties and nineties. One of the clerks, a 64-year-old man named Jim who rents a room above the store, tells me he doesn’t watch much porn anymore, instead preferring Red Skelton movies, which he watches on the Turner Channel.
Trans Canada Adult Video carries 10,000 DVDs, available for rental or purchase. On one of my visits this past summer, not a single DVD was rented over the three hours I was photographing there; the only sale was a bottle containing a burgundy liquid.
The store’s best night in recent memory was the Saturday after the 2013 flood—revenue from rentals was over $2,000.