Vanier residents pin hopes on saving local bowling alley

For nearly 75 years, bowlers have thrown spares and strikes at the Centre Francophone de Vanier — but that could soon be coming to an end.

Community centre owners plan to shut down lanes by April 30

Vanier residents are trying to save a bowling alley at a local community centre that's slated to shut down due to financial constraints. (Radio-Canada )

For nearly 75 years, bowlers have thrown spares and strikes at the Centre Francophone de Vanier, a local French-language community centre.

That could soon be coming to an end.

The centre has said it may have to shut down the lanes by April 30 due to financial difficulties, spurring Vanier residents to rally Saturday to save the local bowling alley.

Ghislaine Laplante, a specialized educator for children, said she comes to the alley every Thursday morning with around 20 young people who have intellectual disabilities.

She said that for some of the youth, it's their only time to see their friends and socialize. Laplante hoped a fundraiser may be able to save the alley. 

"For children and adults with disabilities, bowling is cognitively and physically good," she told Radio-Canada in French.

Ghislaine Laplante says fundraisers may be able to save the bowling alley at the Centre Francophone de Vanier, which is slated to close April 30. (Radio-Canada )

'We don't make any profits'

Organizers and the public are considering solutions to prevent the closure, possibly by bringing in more people to use the facility and extending its opening hours.

"Every week, we don't make any profits … we draw from our reserve," Raymond Lépine, the treasurer and bowling alley's manager, said in a French-language interview with Radio-Canada. 

Diane Lalonde, who helps manage a group of adult bowlers with developmental disabilities, said the closure would negatively affect those who need consistency in their schedules.

"[They're] very disappointed that it's closing. Because it's their life, bowling." said Lalonde, who plays with her group every Saturday.

Jean-Félix Gorley, 10, was very emotional about the potential closure of the bowling alley in Vanier. (Radio-Canada )

Jean-Félix Gorley, 10, had tears in his eyes at the rally Saturday as he spoke about the closure.

"I would like to keep it open, because everyone has fun," he said.

Rideau-Vanier Coun. Mathieu Fleury said he's in discussions with the centre's director to see what can be done

"For them, it is a question of profitability," he said. "It is a recreational space that is used by seniors, by the Francophone community, [and] by people with special needs."