Bowling clubs beleaguered by alley closures
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