The History of the Sport
Bowling was originally discovered in an ancient Egyptian tomb, when a set of pins and balls were found dating back to 3200 B.C. The more well-known 10-pin form of bowling started around 1840 in America and came to Canada in the 1880’s. In 1905, a billiard academy owner, Thomas F. Ryan installed ten lanes of 10-pin in downtown Toronto, Ontario. He called the centre the Toronto Bowling Club and it was known as a very elite and private establishment. When Ryan started receiving customer complaints about the game being too strenuous because of the size and weight of 10-pin bowling balls, he started experimenting. He reduced the number of pins to 5 and equally spaced them in a 36 inch triangle. Next, he took a hard rubber ball that fit into the palm of his hand and used it to roll down the 10-pin lane at the 5 pins. This is the story behind how the 5-pin variant of bowling came to be. By 1909, the sport was officially born and in no time it was being played all over the country. While several changes have been made over the years, the original concept remains the same and it has always existed only in Canada.
1909-2009, that’s 100 years!
Indeed, bowlers are certainly proud to celebrate the 100th anniversary of 5-pin bowling, a sport that is known as a Canadian Heritage Sport. 5-pin bowling is uniquely Canadian because it was invented by a Canadian and is ONLY offered IN Canada.
We did better than the Zipper!
CBC has named 5-pin bowling the 4th greatest Canadian invention of all time. Following insulin, the telephone and the light bulb, 5-pin bowling placed ahead of basketball, lacrosse, the zipper, the wonder bra and even poutine - check here for the top 50.
Different Pin Values
Originally, Ryan’s method of scoring included the following values for the pins: four, two, one, three, five from left to right for a total of 15 (the head pin being worth the least). It wasn’t until 1959 that it was nationally changed to what it is today: two, three, five, three, two.
Gobble, gobble, gobble!
If you get 2 strikes in a row, it’s called a double; if you get 3 strikes in a row, it’s called a turkey. The reason for it being called a turkey dates back before the turn of the 20th century. Apparently, back then - during Thanksgiving or Christmas, the proprietor would present a live turkey to the first person on each team who scored 3 consecutive strikes and the term has carried over to this day! If you get more than 3 in a row it’s called a 4-, 5-, 6-bagger and so on.
Last season, we hosted over 200 birthday parties on weekends with more than 1500 kids - not bad for a little town eh?
No Booze Here
Riverside Lanes is 1 of 3 centers in Ontario that does NOT have a liquor license - we are a very family oriented bowling center and pride ourselves in having a clean, safe and welcoming atmosphere!
Going, going, gone!
As a small center with only six lanes, we sometimes fill up in a hurry, which is why we always tell our customers to call ahead, instead of taking the chance of just showing up and not being able to bowl.