Ottawa

Bowlers mourn loss of Ottawa's last ten-pin alley

Avid bowlers are wondering what they'll do with their spare time after McArthur Lanes, Ottawa's only ten-pin bowling lane and a staple in Vanier since 1962, announced it's closing for good.

McArthur Lanes a staple of Vanier neighbourhood since 1962

McArthur Lanes, a staple of Ottawa's Vanier neighbourhood for nearly 60 years, has closed its doors for good after the owner sold the property. (Hugo Bélanger/Radio-Canada)

Avid bowlers are wondering what they'll do with their spare time after Ottawa's only ten-pin bowling lane announced it's closing for good.

McArthur Lanes, a staple of Ottawa's Vanier neighbourhood since 1962, posted on its Facebook page that it's shutting down after the owner sold the property. The owner declined an interview with CBC.

"There is no doubt about it, losing McArthur Lanes is the end of an era for Vanier," said Nathalie Carrier, executive director of the Vanier Business Improvement Association (BIA).

It was so iconic in our community and in all of Ottawa.- Nathalie Carrier, Vanier BIA

The bowling alley was such a landmark for the neighbourhood that the BIA recently put its name its T-shirts, Carrier said.

"It was so iconic in our community and in all of Ottawa."

For the past decade, Bob Kaminsky has played at McArthur Lanes every Wednesday as part of a winter bowling league. He said he's sad to see it close because he prefers the ten-pin game to five-pin bowling.

"It's the only ten-pin lane left in the city, and being an ex-Montrealer, that's what I was brought up on," Kaminsky said. "It brought back memories of my childhood in Montreal, and now it's gone."

Denis Ste-Marie says with no ten-pin alleys left in Ottawa, he's not sure when he'll be able to use his bowling ball again. (Hugo Bélanger/Radio-Canada)

Like Kaminsky, Denis Ste-Marie spent years playing ten-pin at McArthur Lanes, and was looking forward to potentially returning this fall. The bowling alley has been closed for much of the pandemic.

Ste-Marie said he could go to Gatineau, Que., where there are some ten-pin alleys, but he'd prefer if another one opened in Ottawa.

"I just hope somewhere, someone will be able to carry the banner and open something new somewhere in Ottawa," Ste-Marie said, adding he's doubtful that will happen anytime soon. "It's only a hope."

Louis Pizza shares a parking lot with McArthur Lanes. Louis owner Moe Saab said the two businesses worked well in tandem. (Hugo Bélanger/Radio-Canada)

One of the bowling alley's neighbours is also sad to see it go. Moe Saab, who owns Louis Pizza next door to McArthur Lanes, said the two businesses were complementary.

"All our customers ... they bowled there. They'd come have supper and they'd go bowling," Saab said.

For Kaminsky, the closure might mean finding a new weekly activity.

"We'll have to make other plans on Wednesday evenings from now on," he said.

With files from Catherine Morasse

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