Five-pin bowling is a Canadian phenomenon. It began around 1909 at the Toronto Bowling Club. For those who have never seen it, five-pin uses a much smaller ball than ten-pin, small enough to fit in the hand – without finger holes.
We volunteer for the Tri-Hard Bowling League. The Tri-Hards are a group of great people who love their bowling. They are adults with various challenges who need assistance score-keeping, and that’s how we help out. These folks have been bowling at the Bowlerama on Dundas Street West in Etobicoke for several years. Unfortunately the Bowlerama will be torn down early in the new year to make room for condos and the Tri-Hards will be moving to another facility.
On Saturday, we were talking with one of the folks who makes this bowling league happen. He told us when they started there were 120 five-pin alleys in the Toronto area, but now there are just five. I don’t know if this reflects a decline in bowling as an activity in general, or just a decline in the five-pin variant.
Tuffy P says the bowlerama is a time machine. I get the same feeling. When you walk into the place, it’s like going back in time to our youth in the late 60s and early 70s. Five-pin was a popular birthday activity back then. There was a five-pin alley at our local plaza – down in the basement – which doubled as a pool hall.
Last Saturday was the Tri-Hards Christmas party. The Bowlerama snack bar served up burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese and of course French fries and soft drinks. Add to that plenty of chocolate and cookies. Everyone had a great time, including us. There will be one more Tri-Hards bowling day at Bowlerama before that building becomes Canadian history. We’re hoping the new facility will work out well and the league continues to thrive for years to come.