The Beacon Hill Bowling Club was established in Beacon Hill Park in 1909 and was incorporated by the Societies Act on January 13, 1909. In 1914, the name was changed to the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club. It remains one of the longest standing members of the Act and has occupied the same corner at Park Blvd. and Cook St. ever since. Bowling started on June 14, 1909 and we have operated continuously since that time with the Women’s Club, incorporated in 1921, being amalgamated with the Men’s Club in 1981.
In 2009 the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club was inducted into the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame.
View the YouTube video about the history of the Club: https://youtu.be/-05Li2fN4gY
Read about our Founders:
William Oliphant, John Arbuthnot, Joseph Austin Sayward,
David Dickson England, George Henry Barnard,
Noah Shakespeare, Dr. Lewis Hall, and other founders, of the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club.
written by Jo Ann Allan.
1909 – Membership fees were $10.00 plus $1.00 for a locker. Today, that $10 is equivalent to approximately $220
1923 – Twenty six rinks took part in an international 4 day tournament. There were visiting skips from England, Duncan, and the mainland. The surplus proceeds of the tournament were turned over to the newly formed Burnside Club, then under construction.
September 19, 1928 – Victoria hosts 35 bowlers from New Zealand on the last lap of an Empire tour. They were taken on a tour of Victoria and Butchart Gardens. City Council hosted a dinner at the Hudson’s Bay Dining Room and H. Despard Twigg, MPP, welcomed them on behalf of the province.
1946 – Champ of Champ Singles tournament inaugurated. It was first played as a 16 end game and later changed to 15 points and a round robin.
August 1947, the club entertained 19 men and 8 women from Ontario who were on a “Goodwill Tour of the Prairie Provinces and BC”. The ladies were given a souvenir spoon.
1981 – The Women’s and Men’s clubs amalgamated because one of the conditions of Civic and Provincial funding was amalgamation.
October 28, 1981 – Official Opening of the new Clubhouse. Bill Lipsey designed the building and Herman Rebneris was the construction manager. The cost estimate came in at $10,000 over budget so the members kicked in and did some exterior staining, cleaned up the construction site, assembled the lockers. helped to take down the old building, leveled the grounds around the building, and prepared the base for new sidewalks.
HISTORY OF CLUB TOURNAMENTS
Joan Turner Mixed Triples – Joan Turner was a long time member. She and her sister, Marjory Speed, were a formidable pairs team on the circuit. Over her playing career, she won many trophys. In 1970 she was the secretary/treasurer of the Greater Victoria Ladies Lawn Bowling Association (the forerunner of BSI) She was the Ladies Gold Medal singles champion of the 1980 summer games held in Kelowna. She became one of the first lady umpires and a member of the Provincial Committee in charge of umpire training, headed by Tom McKeachie. The club established the tournament to honor her in 2004.
Richard Mermer Quaddie – This plaque was presented to the club by Jean Wright in 1996 to honor Richard Mermer, a retired Physical Education teacher from Ontario. Richard was a top bowler and a highly respected coach before he passed away.
Lloyd Cup Mixed Scotch Pairs – presented to the club by Miss M. Lloyd on May 7, 1943. The entries were to be drawn, not chosen for the tournament. Miss Lloyd was secretary/treasurer of the club from 1943-47 and a delegate to the Greater Victoria Ladies Lawn Bowling Association. From 1947-1948, she was the secretary of that organization. She donated $5 each year for several years to augment the prize money for the Lloyd Cup. The prizes in the 1st year were $6 for 1st, $5 for 2nd, $4 for each of 3rd and 4th prize. This was a “most popular tournament and created great interest between the 2 clubs” (The men’s and women’s clubs were separate at this time) She died in 1962 at the age of 88.
Jean Wright Mixed Triples – Jean Wright was a top singles player and a long time member of the club. She donated the trophy in memory of her husband. It was first awarded in 2002.
Totem Mixed Pairs – This tournament has a long and interesting past. Originally, the winners were presented with a pair of authentic miniature totems. The winners could keep one each for a year and then return them for the next year’s winners. The totems were carved in the 1920’s by Charlie James, a carver from Port Townsend, Washington, at the request of club member, William Halliwell. Charles James died in 1938. There are beautiful pictures in a binder in the club. In 1984 the executive committee decided that due to the value of these totems ($3000 each) plus the need for safe-keeping, restoration etc. they should be donated to the Royal BC Museum who now holds them in their collection. In place of the totems, a plaque is presented to the winner. The design for the plaque was created by Richard Hunt, a world famous carver, and was commissioned by Peter McNair, Curator of Ethnology at RBCM, for the club. Club member, Sam Fawcett made the plaque.
Simmons Cup – This cup is in honor of Mrs T.A. (Florence Frances Lee)Simmons, born on Aug 30 1884 in London England In 1934, she was elected the 1st president of the Greater Victoria Ladies Lawn Bowling Association. She was the club secretary from 1931 – 1945. 2 years later in 1947, she was again president of the GVLLBA. She was very active in all aspects of club activities. This interclub fours tournament was originally held on 2 different days about a week apart. It changed to a triples tournament in 1953. Florence Simmons died on May 14 1974 at the age of 89 and is buried in Royal Oak Cemetery.
Knut Berg Charity Cup – Knut Berg is a long time member of the club. When his wife Muriel passed away, he made a donation to the club requesting that a charity tournament be established. There are 4 different charities that are on rotation plus one other of the club’s choice.
McKeachie Mixed Triples – Tom was a well-respected rugby, football, basketball and lacrosse player in the 1940’s on fields and in gyms all over Victoria and British Columbia. He turned to cricket in the 1950’s and exchanged his many sporting jerseys for a whistle. He also officiated in basketball and lacrosse. It was in his final sport that Tom McKeachie turned his hand and mind to and left his greatest legacy. From the 1960’s to 1985, Tom was a keen and important lawn bowler, administrator and builder on the city, provincial and national scene. His pinnacle as a player came in 1973 when he won the Walt Disney Masters in Hollywood, California. Tom was president of the Victoria Lawn Bowling Club, the B.C. Lawn Bowling Association and vice-president of the Canadian Lawn Bowling Council.
(from the Greater Victoria Sports Hall of Fame where he is listed as a builder)
Novice Women’s – This trophy was first presented in 1984 by Jessie Thomson. It was replaced by a second trophy presented by Jackie MacLean in in 2012