Bowl­ing clubs be­lea­guered by al­ley clo­sures

Thornhill Post - - News -

The condo boom in Toronto is chang­ing the bowl­ing land­scape across the city. With al­ley after al­ley clos­ing down due to the high value placed on land, smaller leagues are strug­gling to find a new home.

“We started bowl­ing 32 years ago,” said Ch­eryl Sher­man, a long­time bowler from Thorn­hill. “We started at Play­time by York­dale mall. Then we moved over to New­ton­brook, and that’s where we fin­ished off. So its been years and years of stay­ing to­gether, and we hoped it wouldn’t be the last.”

New­ton­brook Bowlerama closed its doors on Sept. 1. For Sher­man and her friends, who call their league the Bowl-A-Busters, this has been a dif­fi­cult jour­ney.

“The only one that we found that was ac­tu­ally close to all of us, was the Rich­mond Hill Pro Bowl, said Sher­man. “I went in there in May and spoke to the pro­pri­etor. I ex­plained the sit­u­a­tion to him, and he would just have noth­ing to do with us.”

Martin Berger, the owner of Rich­mond Hill Pro Bowl, has seen an in­flux in bowl­ing leagues, es­pe­cially those from New­ton­brook, come to his bowl­ing al­ley.

Berger ac­cepted eight leagues, which meant hav­ing to say good­bye to some of his most loyal cus­tomers.

“We had to tell Ch­eryl ‘I’m sorry. I just don’t have the space for you,’ ” said Berger. “I make much less money with just eight peo­ple than I would with 20 to 25 peo­ple.”

The Bowl-A-Busters were very dis­ap­pointed with this news.

More bowl­ing al­leys are ex­pected to close, with the Bathurst Bowlerama to see its fi­nal days in De­cem­ber.

“Bowl­ing might be a thing of the past,” said Sher­man. –– GR

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