British Columbia·Still Standing

Boorman Archery still hits the mark after 56 years in New Westminster, B.C.

Movie stars and Olympians have learned marksmanship through Boorman Archery, which has been open in New Westminster, B.C., for more than half a century.

Store has grown from a garage operation to a pro shop training movie stars and Olympians

Ron Boorman, owner of Boorman Archery, shoots an arrow at a target in his shop in New Westminster, B.C. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Still Standing is a series about the small businesses in the Lower Mainland that have managed to stay open despite the challenges. Listen every second Tuesday on CBC Radio's The Early Edition.

Ron Boorman describes the way he learned to shoot a bow and arrow as "the blue-arm process" — if an archer holds their weapon at the wrong angle, the string can snap back and bruise their forearm.

Some 60 years ago, Boorman was stationed with the Canadian military in Port Alberni, B.C., where he picked up the hobby from the local club.

"I thought: 'Maybe I should go over there and blast a couple, and just find out how to do it, eh?'" he said.

Two arrows hit their mark at Boorman Archery. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

Now he owns Boorman Archery, a pro shop in New Westminster, B.C., that trains movie stars and Olympians.

If his arm is still blue, it doesn't stop him from hitting a bullseye: Last year marked Boorman's 50th year competing in the Las Vegas World Archery Festival.

Bill Boorman loads an arrow into a compound bow at his store. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The popularity of archery surges each time a TV show like Arrow or a series like The Hunger Games is released, says Bill Boorman, Ron's son.

"Hunger Games was crazy," he said. "Our outdoor club went from 450 members to 750 members, just like that."

An archery target is seen through a bow’s sight at Boorman Archery. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

While the film industry bolsters interest in the sport, it also provides business for the store. Boorman Archery gave supplies to Arrow and helped train some of the actors in the movie Blade: Trinity.

"Jessica Biel shot so well," Ron Boorman said. "That gal is a natural."

Bill Boorman shows a compound bow to a customer at Boorman Archery. (Maggie MacPherson/CBC)

The shop offers lessons to kids and adults, some of whom have turned professional. 

Brian Maxwell often comes to the shop to shoot. This summer, he'll be heading to the 2020 Olympics to represent Team Canada in archery.

"He's like a machine now," said Bill Boorman, who teaches lessons at the shop. "It's really cool to see. I actually learn from him now, because he's shooting so much, and travelling the world."

To listen to the full segment on Boorman Archery, click the player below:

With files from The Early Edition