Rolling strikes is in the Marino family’s blood. The family has presided over Grandview Lanes for three generations, ever since Louis Marino established the alley back in 1947. In those days, the pins had to be set by hand, a task Louis's son, George, remembers all too well. As he told Westender reporter Mary Frances Hill, "You'd have 40 women bowling during the day (in the 1950s), and only two pin setters […]. So we'd run around like crazy."
Today, machines act as the alley’s pin setters, but the Marinos are still around and running the show. George's daughter, Tammy, manages the modernized alley, where automatic scoring makes things easier for a younger generation that has never seen a real wooden pencil. Some things haven't changed though. Bowlers can still visit the lunch counter once run by George's mother, fuelling up between frames with burgers or pizzas laden with a dozen different toppings. And, of course, the game remains relatively unchanged. Downstairs, guests choose between 5-pin or 10-pin bowling, and upstairs, black lights and neon wall murals set the psychedelic stage for the sport's most modern update—glow bowling.
Aside from providing a hub for clean, family-friendly fun, Grandview Lanes actively supports the community by helping the fundraising efforts of organizations such as the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada and The Kensington Foundation for Animals in Crisis.
Since 1983, three-time Canadian bowling champion Richard Grubb has owned and operated North Shore Bowl and ensured that the lanes live up to his elite standards. The alley itself has welcomed bowlers since 1961 and offers 16 lanes of traditional five-pin bowling with open hours seven days a week. The lanes, which host men's, women's, and seniors' leagues, welcome luminescent bowlers each weekend for glow bowling. North Shore Bowl also hosts a collection of classic arcade games and a party room so that groups can sing privately to cakes before eating them.
Dell Lanes hosts friendly competition among players throughout the week with regular bowling hours or laser bowling sessions on its collection of classic five-pin lanes furnished with plush couches and automatic scoring. The alley dims its lights and dusts off its futuristic hues for laser bowling each Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. At the on-site bar and lounge, the kitchen staff fires up a full menu of traditional pub fare including house-made pizza, burgers, and beef sandwiches. Dell Lanes also hosts leagues for children, adults, and seniors, allowing the entire family to hone its skills for settling the neighbourly feud with the sparrows in the backyard birdhouse.
The next generation of professional bowlers could very well be lacing up their small, adorable shoes at Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill. The alley hosts a youth league for bowlers as young as five, which is the earliest age Santa accepts requests for bowling gloves. Luckily, strikes and spares don't end once players reach adulthood. Adult leagues let grownups compete across the alley's 20 lanes, which accommodate both five- and tenpin bowling.
While competitive, Sandcastle Bowl Bar & Grill's leagues are primarily social gatherings, with plenty of opportunities to make new friends (bowlers can join teams or sign up as individuals). This spirit of friendly sportsmanship also extends to casual events. The alley hosts after-school bowling on weekdays, and on Saturdays, the staff cranks up music and turns on special effects lighting during an all-you-can-bowl party called Strike FX.
Visits often spill over into the onsite restaurant, Zachary's Grill. The menu puts standard snack bar food to shame with dozens of options such as handmade burgers and shareable baskets of dry ribs.
Twelve lanes of polished wood stretch from players to pins at Viking Bowl & Restaurant. Bowlers can pick the perfect ball from the long racks of weighted spheres, and they can blast as many pins as possible while automatic scoring screens keep tabs for them. Competitive play flourishes at the billiards tables, too. A click-clacking sounds as pool shooters sink a corner shot or hula-hoop with the triangular rack. Patrons can also hunker down in the full-service restaurant and feast on pizza, burgers, and hot wings before heading out for another 10 frames.