BOWLS IN CANADA

The following was written by an unknown author and at an unknown date.

In the museum at Vancouver BC, there are stone bowls used by the Aboriginal people of the west coast. They are like thin cheeses, slightly convex on one side and concave on the other, and that shape gives the bowls a bias.

Bowls was played in Canada about 1734 (unverified date) when a piece of land was granted by the Government to the officers of the garrison at Port Royal, Nova Scotia, for the laying down of a bowling green.  In 1740, (this date is incorrect- the Duke was not in Bedford until 1790) the Duke of Kent had a bowling green constructed in his grounds at Prince’s Lodge, Bedford Basin, Halifax.   The Caer Howell Bowling Club at Toronto was in existence prior to 1837, from which date a minute book exists. (fonds located at Archives Ontario)

In 1893, there were four clubs in Toronto, with others at Hamilton and London in Ontario, and at Quebec and Montreal.  the Scottish level-rink game got a great lift in Canada when James Brown, the first secretary of the Scottish B.A. emigrated there in 1895. Prior to that, clubs in Ontario had formed the Ontario B.A. (1888).  the Western Ontario B.A. was formed in 1896; and both these were merged into the Provincial B.A. of Ontario in 1931, with 93 clubs and 2,765 members.  This is the biggest Association in Canada.

Bowling in British Columbia commenced at Victoria, the capital, about 1908, when a green was laid down in Beacon Hill Park, with Cumberland turf imported from England.  In 1912 the Vancouver Lawn Bowling Club was formed, followed in 1916 by Termjnal City. The British Columbia Lawn B.A. was formed in 1916, and the game has grown to the extent that there are now 50 men’s clubs with 2000 members, and 30 women’s clubs with 750 members in the Province.

The Canadian Lawn Bowling Council was formed in 1931 wwith 93 affiliated clubs and nearly 3,000 members.  It now embraces six provincial Associations – Ontario, British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Alberta, and Quebec.  Now there are 320 men’s clubs with16,725 members.

Canada was responsible for the inclusion of Bowls in the British Empire Games, and the first Games were staged at Hamilton, Ontario, in 1930, with five countries competing. Canada again had the Games in 1954 at Vancouver.

(Canada has hosted the games twice more  in Edmonton in 1978 and Victoria in 1994)