With the new bowling season less than one month away, an important part of service to the bowlers is the certification of the lanes by local associations. They inspect the lanes, gutters, pin deck and even the pit to thousands of an inch making sure everything is within specifications.
The earliest record of this process was Nov. 9, 1949 at Pla-Mor Lanes, 12 lanes. at 749 Barton St. E., followed 14 days later at Bar-Ott Bowl. Then it was the 24 lanes at Bowlero Lanes, 1051 Barton St. E., and next door at 1047 Barton, the Dofasco Bowling Club, a.k.a. Pro Bowl with eight lanes was certified on Sept. 17, 1951. On Oct. 16, 1957, Skyway Lanes, 24 lanes, at 1861 Barton St. E. before it moved to 235 Melvin, and Bowl-O-Drome, 16 lanes, at 148 Parkdale Ave. N., were both certified.
The Olympia Bowling Club at 42 James St. North had its 12 lanes in the basement of the Lister building inspected on Oct. 4, 1957. Hamilton radio legend Paul Hanover was a pinsetter. Tenpin bowling disappeared in 1963. Mohawk Lanes at 705 Mohawk Rd. E., now apartments, had its 10 lanes certified on Oct. 9, 1959. Five days later Lucky Strike Alleys, now Bowlerama Stoney Creek, with 24 lanes, across from the Skyway Drive-In, now Fiesta Mall, was certified. Mountain Lanes, 16 lanes, at 335 Upper Wentworth was certified on Oct. 6, 1960 and it featured candlepin bowling. The 48-lane Hamilton Centre Bowl at Barton and Ottawa, received an OK on Aug. 1, 1961, but within seven years it closed and the location is now a Wal- Mart.
Midtown Lanes, once the Connaught Bowling and Recreation Club at 25 John St. S., received a passing grade for eight lanes on Oct. 6, 1970. The proprietor did not wish to sanction the other 16 lanes. The 24 lanes were on three floors but lack of suitable parking doomed Midtown.
Unknown certification dates for other Hamilton lanes include Beach Alleys at 176 Beach Rd., Crown at 181 James St. N., Grand at Kenilworth and Barton, Ottawa at 172 Ottawa St. N. ,Fleming at 278 Ottawa St., N., Park Lanes at 75 Newlands, Roberts at 743 King St. E., Central at 46 King St. E., Winston Hall at Barton and Lottridge, Winter Gardens at Barton and Ottawa, Kenilworth at 12 Kenilworth N., and the six lanes in the basement of the Normanhurst Community Centre at Barton and Walter.
Queenston Bowl, near the Tommy Grant traffic circle, was in play from 1955 to 1988. Also in play were Bar-Don, now a parking lot, Eastdale, New Pier Bowl, Grimsby Pro Bowl, and Sportsman and Sherwood.
Brantford, Burford, Beamsville, Cambridge, Grimsby, and Oakville were part of the local association and College Bowling with its 10 lanes, at 328 Colbourne in Brantford, was certified on Oct. 30, 1953 but it lasted one year as the leagues moved to Echo Lanes, 760 Colbourne, which had 12 lanes sanctioned on Dec. 14, 1954. Cambridge’s Water St. Bowl, at 10 Parkhill has 12 lanes on the second floor certified on Nov. 15, 1956 and Star Lanes, 16 lanes, on Mary Street in Brantford passed inspection on Nov. 15, 1956.
Oakville’s Crown Bowl, 24 lanes, at 27 Speers Road., was certified on March 15, 1961 and within six years it was torn down. Grimsby’s Orchard Lanes, 12 lanes at 73 Grimsby Square, was certified on Jan. 4, 1962. Burford Lanes, 21 King St. West, in Burford had four of its six lanes certified on Oct. 18, 1960. It’s unknown why lanes three and four were not.
Beamsville’s Circle C Bowling Alleys, 37 King St., and its 12 lanes passed inspection on Oct. 24, 1958 but closed two years later. Red Kelly’s Lanes at 452 Norfolk in Simcoe was certified on Oct. 10, 1960 with 12 lanes on two floors. Ten years later a fire put an end to everything. Fire also ended many others including Eastdale and New Pier Bowl. As automatic pinsetters were years away, five and ten pin bowling were rolled on the same lanes.
Tournament of the Americas
Art Oliver Jr. of Hamilton placed sixth in singles with triples of 591, 584, 561, and 674 (234) for a 201 average at the Tournament of the Americas in Miami. In doubles with Joe Ciach, they won the bronze medal with 2,490 for 12 games with Art’s triples of 568 and 613 and Joe’s 614 and 695, missing silver by 24 pins and gold by 31 pins. For the 30 games all events Joe was fourth with a 205 average and Art was sixth with a 198 average.
After 11 strikes in a row, and one strike away from a perfect game, a Houston man saw his last ball looking good for the 300, but at the last second the “sweeper” came down and stopped the ball. On the re-try he left up three pins for a 297 game.
Why does pro bowler Pete Weber wear sunglasses when he bowls? At the recent Bowl Expo he said in the beginning it was because of the bright lights, but now he says it is for show and his many fans expect him to wear them. Even pros take a break as he said he hadn’t thrown a ball in over two weeks.
Hamilton Bowling Trivia
- One hundred years ago the 1913 International Harvester Champion bowling team, Campbell, Lord, Waterfield, Nesbitt, Henry, and Vishea, posed for their winning photo in white shirts and bow ties. Their winning trophy looked a lot like the present day Stanley Cup.
- The five pin game came to Hamilton in 1911 from Toronto where it was invented by Tommy Ryan in 1909.
- The Hamilton Tiger-Cat office is at King and Jarvis where 100 hundred years ago Lucky Strike Alleys was located.