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Sports & Play

Bowling in Toronto

Posted by Robyn Urback / January 31, 2011

Bowling TorontoBowling in Toronto has come back in vogue this month with the opening of the much buzzed about downtown bowling alley The Ballroom. And why not? Bowling is one of those cherished pastimes that never seems to go out of style. I've always found something charming about the unapologetically tacky shoes, blinding flashing lights, greasy food, and thrill of trying to think of a naughty, three-letter word to display on the score screen in lieu of my real name.

Beyond the downtown core, there is surely no shortage of places to go bowling in Toronto, with different alleys offering amenities to cater to each bowling-enthusiast's preferences and needs. Here's a list and breakdown of some of the bowling alleys in the GTA:

Bathurst Bowlerama

Situated right amidst the sparring cash-for-gold jewelers at Bathurst and Glencairn, Bathurst Bowlerama is the quintessential outmoded lane. Unrepentant in its 90's technology and décor, it has 16 lanes of 5-pin and 16 lanes of 10-pin bowling, along with arcade games, a snack bar, and cosmic bowling on Friday and Saturday nights ($28.50 an hour plus $2.99 for shoe rental). Check its website for a $5 off coupon.

Monday to Thursday: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Friday : 11 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. - 1 a.m.
Sunday 10 a.m. - 11 p.m.

Danforth Bowl

Danforth Bowl at Danforth and Coxwell offers six lanes of 5-pin bowling with lots of that independently-run charm and flashing icons on its website. It boasts that it is fully licensed with a well-stocked bar that has recently added Yellow Tail Shiraz to its collection. You can bowl amid coloured lights and a disco ball for $30 an hour, plus $2.50 for shoes.

Sunday to Thursday: 12 p.m. - 10 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 12 p.m. - 12 a.m.

Bowling TorontoWest Bowlerama

Have you ever had the overwhelming desire to bowl a game or two at 4 a.m.? Me neither--but if you ever do, there's West Bowlerama, which is open 24 hours, seven days a week. Near Kipling and Dundas St. West, this alley has 32 lanes of 5-pin and 24 lanes of 10-pin bowling, along with games and a snack bar. West Bowlerama also celebrates "Magical Mondays," where games are $0.75 per person after $5 admission, as well as "70's Night" on Wednesdays, where games, fries, and hot dogs are $0.99 after 10p.m. Cosmic bowling on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights are $30.99 an hour, plus $4.50 for shoe rental.

Lucky Strike Lanes

This bowling alley in Vaughan Mills mall seems to be some sort of weird club/lounge/bowling alley hybrid. Along with 22 lanes of 10-pin bowling, it has a VIP lounge (where all the high "rollers" hang, no doubt), a dance floor, live DJ on Fridays and live band on Saturdays. Wednesdays are also "Karaoke Night" and Mondays after 8 p.m. are "All You Can Bowl." And don't worry, while the website says a dress code is in effect, it's not actually enforced--so go ahead and work those sweats. Bowling is $65 per hour per lane on weekends, and $45 during the week.

Sunday to Thursday: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. - 2 a.m.

The Ballroom

The Ballroom at the corner of Richmond and John is the newest lane on the scene. I has abandoned the deep-rooted pastel tiles and green screens of bowling alleys in our minds, and instead opted for more modern décor and amenities. Its nine lanes of 10-pin bowling are surrounded by LED screens, available for $65 per hour per lane on weekends (it's about half the cost on weekdays, plus shoes and taxes). The Ballroom also has a variety of arcade games, pool tables, and a ping-pong lounge. Its sports bar offers everything from bowling classics such as onion rings ($7) and nachos ($14 or $22), to less typical lane food such as organic quinoa salad ($10 or $16) and grilled flank steak ($25).

Sunday to Saturday: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Playtime Bowl

Playtime Bowl on Samor Road near Yorkdale Mall has 48 lanes of 10-pin bowling and lots of flashing lights and sound--5000 WATTS worth, to be exact. So bring along the Advil? Cosmic bowling with a live DJ runs Friday and Saturday nights from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. at $32.99 per lane per hour. Specials include Sunday to Thursday "Bottomless Bowling" where you can bowl all you want for $8 (plus $1 for shoes). Playtime also has a licensed bar and grill and home to the Doug Gilmour Celebrity Bowl.

Sunday to Thursday: 11 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.

2011131-bowling.jpgNewtonbrook Bowlerama

Inside the Newtonbrook Plaza at Yonge and Finch, this alley has 12 5-pin lanes, 20 10-pin lanes, a snack bar, and cosmic bowling on weekends. It's about $27 per lane per hour for evening play on weekends, and about $22 during the week.

Sunday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: 9 a.m. to 3 a.m.

20110118-ballroom19.jpgRexdale Bowlerama

Rexdale Bowlerama at Kipling and Rexdale has 16 5-pin and 16 10-pin lanes. It has "All You Can Bowl" on Tuesdays, "70's Night" on Wednesdays, and Cosmic Bowling for $31.50 per hour per lane plus $3.50 for shoes.

Sunday to Thursday: 10 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 a.m.

Kennedy Bowl

Kennedy Bowl at Lawrence and Kennedy has 32 lanes of 10-pin bowling. It also has a licensed sports bar, snack bar, and cosmic bowling for $25 per hour per lane plus shoes.

Sunday to Thursday: 9 a.m. to 12 a.m.
Friday: 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Saturday: 9 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Parkway Bowl

Parkway Bowl at in the Parkway Mall at Victoria Park and Ellesmere has 24 lanes of 5-pin bowling, four of which can be turned into 10-pin lanes. Bowling is $3.54 per game (plus $2.21 for shoes) for 5-pin and 3.76 for 10-pin.

Depends on the time of year (check website or call).

Brimley Bowl

Brimley Bowl at Eglinton and Brimley Road has 16 lanes of 5-pin bowling. Evening rates are $25 per lane per hour plus $2 for shoes. Phone: (416) 267-1134

Call, depends on leagues.

All-Star Bowl

One of the cheapest options in the city, All-Star Bowl on Eglinton east of Danforth Road has 24 lanes of 10-pin bowling offered for just $2 for downstairs lanes, $5.25 for upstairs lanes (plus $3 for shoes). Phone: (416) 261-5011

Monday to Thursday: 12 p.m. to 11 p.m.
Sunday: 12 p.m. to 1 a.m.
Friday and Saturday: 12 p.m. to 2 a.m.

North Park Bowl

Another thrifty option, North Park Bowl at Lawrence and Keele has 16 lanes of 5-pin bowling available for $15 per lane per hour including shoes. Phone: (416) 240-9373

Daily: 12p.m. to varies

Shamrock Bowl

Shamrock Bowl, the 1950s-style bowling alley near Gerrard and Coxwell, would have received a bit more prominent standing on this list if it wasn't for that fact that they're an event rental space, and thus not open to the public. Also worrisome is the fact that listed phone number is no longer in service. We have an email out to Shamrock and will thus update this entry with more information when we have it.

Third image by Chewie2008~ in the blogTO Flickr pool. Other photos by Denis Marciniak/blogTO.



Allie / January 31, 2011 at 10:45 am
Shamrock Bowl isn't there anymore--it was turned into a GoodLife Fitness.
JLankford / January 31, 2011 at 10:49 am
With many of these places charging $28-$36/h, no wonder bowling is dying.
Greg replying to a comment from Allie / January 31, 2011 at 10:51 am
Shamrock is located about the GoodLife. Has the gym expanded?
Adam / January 31, 2011 at 11:03 am
RE: JLankford
It's not the fault of the alley that the prices are so high; The city has done nothing to help with the rising costs of everything real estate related downtown so that's the problem there.

I have been to this place before and it was very clean, everthing was brand new, they have a great bar (albeit expensive) and the best part... NO KIDS!
Adam / January 31, 2011 at 11:04 am
Whoops I meant to say that I have been to THE BALLROOM in my last message
Andrea / January 31, 2011 at 11:39 am
If they have a clean place for people to play bowling here then that's fine but if we are talking about the cost, don't mind it as long as the service is good.
Allie replying to a comment from Greg / January 31, 2011 at 11:57 am
I thought it had totally been closed due to the new gym, but I guess not. This needs more investigation.
Ryan L. replying to a comment from Allie / January 31, 2011 at 12:16 pm
I'm fairly sure it's still open. I live in the area and definitely remember seeing it well after the gym had opened.
nic / January 31, 2011 at 12:26 pm
pleasantly surprised to find that BlogTO is aware that toronto exists north of eglinton.
Melanie / January 31, 2011 at 12:27 pm
There's a bowling alley at Steeles E. & Old Kennedy Rd. called Club 300 which may actually be the chrapest options out of all of these. :) on certain days & times they have glow in the dark bowling too.
bolwer / January 31, 2011 at 01:02 pm
You forgot to list all the bowling alleys in Hamilton and Barrie, which are closer to Toronto than some of the ones on the list.

Richard Flohil / January 31, 2011 at 01:27 pm
NEVER play a sport where you have to wear other peoples' shoes.
mr. hood / January 31, 2011 at 03:51 pm
bathurst bowlerama charges 50 cents a game on monday nights and the food and beer is cheap!
Jesse / January 31, 2011 at 04:44 pm
Evidence of the rising the Labowski generation. :)
Henry G / January 31, 2011 at 06:11 pm
Brunswick Bowl in Brampton may be one of the cheapest places in the GTA and there are plenty of coupons to download off their website.
kay replying to a comment from bolwer / January 14, 2012 at 01:53 pm
The only place not in Toronto listed is the one in Vaughan. How is Barrie closer?
KC / February 28, 2012 at 02:17 pm
Out of all this options, which one would you consider the nicest one?
kar / February 28, 2012 at 09:44 pm
has anyone been to all star bowl after it got renovated? the website makes it look pretty good.
Wendy / March 14, 2012 at 05:13 pm
I remember when I use to bowl at the Shamrock when I was 10-12 years old. Fantastic time was always had. Remembering the pin chasers, how they had to reset the pins which had string or something attached to the pins. Always a fun and exciting time! One of my favorite memories of my life on Coxwell Ave with my six sisters and three brothers.
Denise Horsley / April 7, 2012 at 11:08 pm
I have been checking the bowling leagues in Toronto and I'm disappointed at how few there are and it may be because the sport is dying. It's a shame because it's a sport that is fun, and you meet great people within a league. How many sports are out there whereby you can bring family, friends, and have a memorable fantastic time? It's sad to see this sport go in the direction where it may disappear one day!
ian / May 28, 2012 at 04:42 pm
League bowling has been on the decline since the mid-nineties but public play has been on the rise since...I have worked in the industry for 17yrs(Im 32 now :)) and people always have a great time at anyone of the centres ive worked at. the cost seems high but week nights specials at all loacations are very cost efficent(.99cents a game at west, fries and hotdogs same cost wednesday nights after 10pm), and weekend hourly rates if you come with a few friends works out to about the same cost as seeing a movie but much more social and promised fun, and our beer is cheaper then 90 percent of bars in toronto so thats just a bonus :) bowling isnt dying, just with so many options in this great city have peak and vallys just like any other industry, sport has been around for over a 100yrs, were not going anywhere :) hope to see you all on the lanes
Adam / September 5, 2012 at 03:57 am
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mike replying to a comment from Allie / January 14, 2013 at 07:22 am
Thorncliffe is a rip off. 36 bucks an hour and 4 dollars for shoes? You are required to prepay so if your time runs out in the 8th frame of a game, you'll get cut off unless you prepay for more time. If you finish and you still have time, you will not be refunded the difference. Kennedy's ok, I used to work there. their lanes are newly renovated but their lounge is small. Playtime is my fav. State of the art facility, pro shop, nice lounge, and bottomless bowling which used to be 8 bucks but has increased to 11.50. Still a great deal for 3 hours. And oh yeah, Shamrock Bowl is above goodlife fitness and is still there.
mike replying to a comment from Allie / January 14, 2013 at 07:26 am
I forgot to add, "I miss Cedarbrae." :(
mike replying to a comment from Allie / January 14, 2013 at 07:32 am
One more thing, Lucky Strike? 65 bucks an hour?? Really?!? Do I get a massage and an open bar? I would never...
Daki / April 11, 2013 at 08:09 pm
those look like nice places
Adriana replying to a comment from mike / April 13, 2013 at 11:14 am
Bowling prices are expensive. If you like bowling we have tickets for $35 that include: 3 hours of playing, bowling shoes, pizza and a drink, and prizes. If you like bowling and want to have fun with friends, I think this is a good opportunity to take, you save money, have fun and help a great cause. Tickets need to be PURCHASED IN ADVANCE through our website,, they are valid for April 27, 2013 from 3:00 - 7:00pm at Bowlerama West.
Jonathan / January 18, 2014 at 06:06 pm
Hey! I know I'm like...years late to this discussion, but I've recently become interested in bowling and I live downtown in Toronto. Is the only bowling alley the place in Richmond & John? I read about it, but I've never been to it. I also did a search of bowling leagues in Toronto and (LOL) I was brought to a site of bowling leagues in Toronto, Ohio!

Anyway, if anyone has any info let me know...Lund416 at yahoo dot ca.

Jeff / March 6, 2014 at 07:41 pm
West Bowlerama (plantation in the old days) rocks. I used to go there in the early 80's and it is still a classic.
Sue / March 6, 2014 at 07:51 pm
O'Connor Bowl is no more.
coco replying to a comment from Sue / March 7, 2014 at 04:24 pm
O'Connor Bowl is still in business - just made a reservation there!
Judy / March 9, 2014 at 08:06 am
How about an update? I own what was known as Brimley Bowl and would like it if this info was changed! A reprint with new info would be beneficial to our sport.
wayne / March 31, 2014 at 11:20 pm
I go to Danforth BOWL at coxwell subway it was a good time it was so much fun ! I wore the bowling shoes home.when back next day to get my own.. / May 28, 2014 at 10:44 pm
But despite exploring quite a few areas no fish seemed to stop fighting
offshore energy fishing 525 development and get in on the luminous flesh
on its head. It's hard for us to have a little
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Peter Moura / July 12, 2014 at 03:28 am
is there anybody that used to bowl at Olypia Lanes 20 Edward st. toronto
SoE / August 20, 2014 at 05:48 pm
...pleasantly surprised that north of eglinton has internet access.
paul / October 24, 2014 at 08:15 pm
There goes the city, goodbye history... ...goodbye O'Connor Bowl...hello ugly condo. built when the inner burbs were just starting. When I was a kid in the late 70's early 80's used to pass by it all the time. Buildings in Toronto are really now starting to show their age

"The venerable O’Connor Bowl will be gone but not forgotten, as Toronto and East York Community Council approved a plan to redevelop the bowling alley into a seven-storey mixed commercial and residential structure."
paul / October 24, 2014 at 08:19 pm
oconnor bowl, purpose built and probaly one of th oldest in toronto. Probably built when the area was still Turing from fields to industrial.

I miscalculated thinking it was built in the 60's like most of them

“For anyone who has had a birthday party — raise your hand if you’ve had a kid’s birthday party at O’Connor Bowl,” she said.

“It has a significant cultural heritage — not an architectural heritage, but there are many of us who are sad to see O’Connor Bowl go. My father bowled there in 1952 in a provincial championship. So it’s sentimental, for one thing.”
David replying to a comment from paul / October 26, 2014 at 04:51 pm
O'Connor Bowl was my family's business. Built in 1952 by my great grandmother and operated by my grand father John Martin until his death in 2010 at age 90. Most of us in the family worked there at one time or another throughout our lives. At one it was "The Place" for league and public bowling. Sadly, it was sold as per the estate of my late great grandmother in 2011. The developer has long wanted that property for condos. I'm not too sure if will happen anytime soon but it is for sure slated for devolvement in the future.

It was an icon of bowling. Many firsts took place there including televised bowling in Canada and the birth of the Canadian Five Pin Championships and many many others.

As with any sport, and bowling is a sport as much as it is an entertainment event, they need to keep up with the times, employ new ideas, reach out to the community, modernize, and be relevant. Sadly the BPA and others associations didn't do this and league bowling dropped off.

Opening up a new centre costs a lot of money. Capitol equipment isn't cheap, even the goos quality used equipment. To build from scratch, cost a fortune. Unless you have deep pockets and a good vision to the future, new centre openings will be only a few here and there.

If I had the money, I certainly would open a centre. Free fall five pin. Wood lanes, full service restaurant and lounge, league play for all ages and public entertainment.

This a great blog btw.
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