YOU SHOULD KNOW: About The History Of Vancouver’s Long Love Affair With Bowling

May 9, 2012.

by Stevie Wilson | Long before Vancouver was synonymous with hockey riots, we were civilized, happy people who enjoyed life’s finest sport: bowling. Remnants of the city’s love affair with this sport are still visible and, more importantly, accessible. The Commodore Lanes at 838 Granville is currently the oldest surviving bowling center in Canada, and its history reveals much about Vancouver’s affections for The Big Lebowski’s sport of choice.

Opening its doors on September 7th, 1930, The Commodore Lanes was originally named “Commodore Recreations”. Inspired by the success and excitement surrounding Toronto-based Tommy F. Ryan’s 1909 move from ten-pin to five-pin bowling (Canada’s first), owner Frank Pavin introduced five-pin to Vancouver, and it was an instant hit. With Pavin came Mitz Nozaki, a young Japanese-Canadian who had been in the bowling trade since he was 13, working for Pavin as a pinboy (hand-setting the pins!) at Gastown’s Abbott Lanes, a ten-pin joint. Inspired to create new five-pin lanes to suit the sport’s sensibilities of weak-wristed Canadian players (we didn’t like how heavy the other balls were), Pavin was also one of the first to allow women to play the gentlemen’s sport, with a special promotion that let ladies play for free in the mornings.

The Commodore Lanes quickly became a popular spot among locals, and soon grew to attract the likes of celebrities such as Roy Rogers, Clark Gable, and Buster Crabb, to name just a few. The Commodore was also the first to rent out bowling shoes; a well-liked alternative to the ‘blackies’ typically worn over street shoes. Pavin and Nozaki are remembered by those who knew them as hard-working, dedicated bowlers who transformed the sport into one of Vancouver’s favourite pastimes. In fact, Nozaki is said to have been absent from the lanes for just one occasion: his forced internment in the Japanese camp at Sushwap’s Blind Bay for the course of the Second World War.

When Frank Pavin passed away in 1962, Nozaki purchased the Commodore Lanes and went on to become one of the most influential names in Vancouver’s five-pin bowling scene. With the rise of monthly newsletters and annuals such as Strikes ‘n’ Spares, Vancouver Bowling News, and PNE Bowling, tournaments became increasingly popular, including several held at the Commodore Lanes well into the 1980s. Until 1983, the lanes were home to numerous games and tournaments played by the Vancouver All-Star League, a 3-player, 4-game scratch pinfall league (home to the best of the best of the city’s bowlers). In 2004 at the age of 91, Mitz Nozaki passed away, a legend among Vancouver’s bowling community and the Commodore Lanes.

So the next time you’re feeling wound up about the Canucks losing (again), try your hand at some five-pin over at the Commodore Lanes. It’s cheap, it’s fun, and best of all, it’s historical! And if none of that tickles you, they also serve beer.

——————————————————————————————-

Stevie Wilson is an historian masquerading as a writer. After serving as an editor for the UBC History Journal, she’s decided to branch out with a cryptic agenda: encouraging the people of Vancouver to take notice of their local history and heritage with You Should Know, a Scout column that aims to show you the things that you already see. Just nod your head and pretend you’re paying attention.

——————————————————————————————-

#ScoutThis

There are 3 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You Should Know Local histories and mysteries...

FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BRIEF #453 | Chats With Commie Aliens In The Former Yugoslavia

FOREIGN INTELLIGENCE BRIEF #453 | Chats With Commie Aliens In The Former Yugoslavia

From the fantastical Department of WTF (specifically the seldom heard from Special Balkan Division) comes Ruben Woodin-Dechamps and Oscar Hudson's bizarrely… more 

1,000 COOL THINGS ABOUT VANCOUVER | CRAB Park: A Hidden Gem On The Waterfront

1,000 COOL THINGS ABOUT VANCOUVER | CRAB Park: A Hidden Gem On The Waterfront

Located at the north terminus of Main Street, CRAB Park is a 2.5 hectare waterfront green space and beach destination so effectively tucked away from busy… more 

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Asahi, The

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Downtown Eastside Team Of Legend & Lore That Used To Kick Ass

Asahi, The | Legend/Team | The Downtown Eastside's famous baseball team. Established in 1914, The Asahi’s home field was the Powell Street Grounds in… more 

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Blueberry Tea

VANCOUVER LEXICON | The Final Customer Who Stays Long After The Restaurant Closes

Blueberry Tea | Slang/Noun | The last customer who lingers long after the restaurant closes. The term comes from a hot and highly aromatic after dinner drink… more 

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Baker

VANCOUVER LEXICON | A Stratovolcano That Looms Threateningly On Vancouver's Horizon

Baker | Place | Colloquial reference to Mount Baker, an ominous-looking, 10,781 ft high stratovolcano in Washington State that is clearly visible on… more 

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Chump Tower

VANCOUVER LEXICON | Nickname Will Stick Even If Trump Tower Gets Official Rebranding

Chump Tower | Noun |  Vancouver's general antipathy towards Donald Trump existed before his proposals to forcibly repatriate millions of illegal immigrants… more 

YOU SHOULD KNOW | A Little Bit More About The History Of Prospect Point In Stanley Park

YOU SHOULD KNOW | A Little Bit More About The History Of Prospect Point In Stanley Park

by Stevie Wilson | Today, Prospect Point is easily lost within the myriad tourist attractions dotting Stanley Park, but like many of these landmarks it has its… more 

READ THIS | On Hemingway In French & More Intel From The Front Lines Of The Book World

READ THIS | On Hemingway In French & More Intel From The Front Lines Of The Book World

by Clea Young |  The Vancouver Writers Fest is set to present author John Irving to a sold out house at the Playhouse on December 1st.  If you weren’t… more 

The scout Community

49th Parallel Coffee Roasters & Lucky’s Doughnuts Acorn Alibi Room Ancora Waterfront Dining & Patio AnnaLena Araxi Ask For Luigi Au Comptoir Bambudda Bao Bei Chinese Brasserie Bar Oso Bauhaus Beach Bay Café & Patio Beachhouse Bearfoot Bistro Beaucoup Bakery & Cafe Bel Café Bestie Beta5 Chocolates Biltmore Cabaret Bishop’s Bistro Pastis Bistro Wagon Rouge Bitter Tasting Room Blue Water Cafe + Raw Bar Bottleneck Bufala Burdock & Co. Cadeaux Bakery Café Medina Caffè Artigiano Camp Lifestyle + Coffee Co. Campagnolo Campagnolo ROMA Cannibal Cafe Cartems Donuterie Chambar Chefs’ Table Society of BC Chewies Oyster Bar Chez Christophe Chocolaterie Patisserie  Chicha Chill Winston ChocolaTas Chocolate Arts Cibo Trattoria Cinara CinCin Ristorante + Bar Cioffi’s Cioppino’s Mediterranean Grill Cocktails & Canapes Catering + Events Cuchillo Culinary Capers Catering & Special Events Dirty Apron Cooking School & Delicatessen District Brasserie Dockside Restaurant & Brewing Company Doi Chaang Coffee Co. Earnest Ice Cream Edible Canada Elementa Espana Exile Bistro Fable Fanny Bay Farmer’s Apprentice Fat Badger Fat Mao Field & Social Fish Counter Forage Giovane Cafe + Eatery Gotham Steakhouse & Bar Grain Granville Island Grapes & Soda Greenhorn Espresso Bar Gyoza Bar Hapa Izakaya Hart House Restaurant Harvest Community Foods Hawksworth Restaurant Heirloom Homer Street Cafe & Bar Hy’s Steakhouse Irish Heather Jamjar JJ Bean Joy Road Catering Juice Truck Juniper Keefer Bar Kin Kao Knifewear Krokodile Pear Kuma Tofino L’Abattoir La Buca La Mezcaleria La Pentola La Quercia La Taqueria Pinche Taco Shop Latab Wine Bar Lazy Gourmet Les Amis du Fromage Lions Pub, The Liquidity Bistro Little District Lobby Lounge + RawBar Lolita’s South Of The Border Cantina Longtail Kitchen Los Cuervos Taqueria & Cantina Lupo Restaurant Maenam Mamie Taylor’s MARKET by Jean-Georges Matchstick Coffee Roasters Meat & Bread Meinhardt Fine Foods Miku Restaurant Milano Coffee Minami Miradoro Mission Mogiana Coffee Mosquito Nicli Antica Pizzeria Nightingale Nomad Nook Notturno Nuba Oakwood Canadian Bistro Olive & Anchor OLO OPUS Bar Oru Osteria Savio Volpe Oyama Sausage Co. Pallet Coffee Roasters Phoenix Perennials Pidgin Pied-à-Terre Pizzeria Farina Pointe Restaurant at the Wickaninnish Inn Pourhouse Railtown Cafe Railtown Catering Rain Or Shine Ice Cream Rainier Provisions Red Wagon, The Revolver Coffee Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co. Royal Dinette Sai Woo Salt Tasting Room Salty Tongue Café Savoury Chef Settlement Building Shaughnessy Restaurant Shebeen Whisk(e)y House Shelter Shika Provisions Siena Six Acres Sophie’s Cosmic Cafe Stable House, The Steel Toad Brewpub & Dining Hall Supermarine Tableau Bar Bistro Tacofino Tavola Terra Breads Thierry Thomas Haas Chocolates & Patisserie Timber Timbertrain Coffee Roasters Torafuku Tractor Foods Truffles Fine Foods Two Rivers Specialty Meats UBC Farm Uncommon Cafe, The Urban Digs Farm Uva Wine & Cocktail Bar Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Wise™ Program Via Tevere Pizzeria Napoletana West Restaurant Wildebeest Wolf In The Fog YEW seafood

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .

Lorem Ipsum is simply dummy text of the printing and typesetting industry. Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book. It has survived not only five centuries, but also the leap into electronic typesetting, remaining essentially unchanged. It was .