Reading through my favourite local history book (as I am known to do on occasion) I discovered that 1920 was the year that 5 pin bowling came to Vancouver.
When 5 Pin Bowling Came to Vancouver
The game was invented in 1909 by Tom Ryan of Toronto, in response to customers who complained that the 10 pin game was too strenuous. Tom cut 10 pins down to about 75% of their size, and used hand-sized hard rubber balls. [Source: History of 5 Pin Bowling] By 1945 it was more popular than 10 pin.
Commodore Lanes opened up on Granville Street in 1930 and has been operating 12 lanes of 5 pin ever since. It wasn’t the first bowling alley in Vancouver, and I can’t find the location where 5 pin was fist played, but it’s definitely the longest lasting.
Grandview Lanes has also hosted 5 pin fun since 1947, and North Shore Bowl has been North Vancouver’s 5 pin centre since 1961. Over the last few decades though we’ve lost Varsity Ridge Lanes and Fraser Bowlaway, and Hillcrest Bowling Alleys (4280 Main St) and others, I’m sure.
Since I can’t find the alley from 1920, I’ll take Chuck’s word for it and serve up some 5 pin bowling photos from the City of Vancouver Archives.
La Salle Recreations (945 Granville) had a bright neon bowling sign and marquee. I found a 1929 bowling photo of men out front but they were holding 10 pin balls.
See more history posts with images from the archives here »