When 5 Pin Bowling Came to Vancouver

Comments 1 by Rebecca Bollwitt

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.

1931 - Commodore Lanes 5 pin bowling
1931 – Commodore Lanes. Archives# CVA 99-4032

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 originally as 10 pin but switched to 5. 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.

5 Pin Bowling Contestant at the PNE 1967. Archives # CVA 180-3967.
5 Pin Bowling Contestant at the PNE 1967. Archives # CVA 180-3967.

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.

BC Telethon Worker Bowling Tournament 1945
BC Telethon Worker Bowling Tournament 1945. Archives # CVA 1184-2810.

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.

1929 Bowling tournament, people in front of LaSalle Recreations Ltd., 945 Granville. Archives #CVA 99-2058.
1929 Bowling tournament, people in front of LaSalle Recreations Ltd., 945 Granville. Archives #CVA 99-2058.
1931 Commodore International Girls Bowling Team. Archives # CVA 99-2528.
1931 Commodore International Girls Bowling Team. Archives # CVA 99-2528.

See more history posts with images from the archives here ยป

Current Contests on Miss604
*All contests are open to residents of Canada only, unless otherwise stated. Contest timelines are published on each individual post along with entry methods. Some contests may only be open to those 19 years of age and older. Winners are announced on the contest blog posts. Contest policy »

1 Comment  —  Comments Are Closed

  1. Don McMullanThursday, April 9th, 2020 — 4:23pm PDT

    Commodore Lanes opened as 10 pin bowling alleys – as is evident in the picture used…..

Also on Miss604.com
«
»