This is it for Varsity Ridge Bowl

The Varsity Ridge corner at Arbutus and West 15th Ave., photographed in November 2012 by Katja De Bock

The Varsity Ridge corner at Arbutus and West 15th Ave., photographed in November 2012 by Katja De Bock

The iconic bowling alley on Arbutus Street and West 15th Ave. in Kitsilano, Vancouver is closing forever tonight. The entire block will be replaced by condos, in spite of neighbourhood protests

The bowling alley has been a place for exercise and socializing since the 1970s. Seniors visited the facility several times a week and young children were trained for league championships.

The all-Canadian five-pin bowling alley will be dismantled in the summer. Parts of it will go to other facilities like the Commodore Lanes in downtown and Grandview Lanes on Commercial Drive.

Varsity owner Ken Hayden and his wife Judy announced on CBC’s The Early Edition this morning they will volunteer to supervise league training at the Commodore.

While the movie theatre in the same complex closed earlier this year, the Chinese restaurant Ridge Gardens will stay opened until August. The owners plan to open a new restaurant on Macdonald St. and W 24th Ave. in September.

I had the pleasure of throwing a few balls at a kids birthday party yesterday afternoon. I’ve only known the place since last November, when I researched a topic for a photojournalism project at Langara College. You can see the results – a trip into memory lane – here:

Thank you, Ken & Judy Hayden, and Varsity Ridge bowl for providing me and my family with many hours of pleasure. Take care!

Reported by Katja De Bock

Did you frequent the Varsity Ridge Bowl?

What are your memories of the iconic bowling alley?

Where you will you go bowling next?

I am interested in reading your stories in the comment box below. 


5 thoughts on “This is it for Varsity Ridge Bowl

  1. When I started bowling, I was very shy, bowling allowed me a place to socialize, and create some fantastic friendships and memories…. Many people encountered at the lanes became extended family members, I have a dozen grandmothers and grandfathers, 1/2 dozen mothers, a few dads, loads of brothers and sisters, and so many daughters and sons I can’t put a number on it., Friends number well over 1000. I’ve been involved with Varsity Ridge Bowl for 35 years, have attended weddings, funerals, religious ceremonies, birthdays and bbq’s., Watched children grow, and bring in children of their own, met celebrities, and been taught life lessons by special olympians. Many repeat public bowlers I got to know (code names and shoe size) and they would share their days events, jobs, etc with me. Have been so lucky to meet such a diverse group…virtually every race, religion and age group….so thankful to all.
    Can I give just one memory?…not really, but perhaps when one public bowler had come in, and in time became the mother of my children. Yes, this place has been life changing for me.
    T.J. McWhinnie

      • My plans involve moving down the the Commordore Lanes with our leagues. Btw, my wife had a friend with her that day, she became the wife of one of my best friends/brothers. I’ve watched many singles become couples, and couples become families.

  2. Pingback: Go Home | Love, Pru

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