bowling toronto

The future of bowling alleys in Toronto has never been more uncertain

It's been a gruelling couple of months for bowling alleys who intersect between indoor entertainment, restaurant and bars. 

"I'm still standing but that's about it," said Barry Taylor, director of operations at The Ballroom

Bowling alleys rely heavily on large gatherings, which won't be happening anytime soon.

"It's been really difficult for us," said Axel Binneboese, owner of Shamrock Bowl

They weren't listed under the Stage 2 businesses allowed to reopen.

"We've been closed since middle of March and I'm not seeing an opening until Stage 3."

To add insult to injury Binneboese told blogTO that they usually close during the summer months because there's no demand for bowling, meaning they likely won't reopen until Labour Day. 

But in the meantime, both Taylor and Binneboese are making preparations for their eventual reopening. 

Taylor and Binneboese are considering adding Plexiglass barriers, limiting the number of lanes in use, and using aggressive cleaning protocols to ensure the safety of staff and patrons.

But without official guidelines, neither are sure what other preparations they'll need to do. 

On top of that, they're still worried about whether the demand for bowling will return.

While both have said their customers are eager to get back to the lanes, Taylor and Binneboese are concerned there might be some hesitation — especially since there's a perception that bowling alleys are unsanitary. 

"That's one of the hardest things," said Taylor. As such, he's not just relying on the bowling alley to keep things going.

"We've been trying to reposition ourselves as more of a food establishment," he explained. 

The Ballroom is planning on opening up their patio, along with their restaurant within the next week. 

But for places like Shamrock that don't have that option, they're forced to continue to wait and hope that when things open up again customers will return.  

"I hope we do this recovery where we go back to where we once were. 
I hope our customers in our area come out," said Binneboese. 

Lead photo by

Hector Vasquez


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