While skiing may be the first thing that comes to mind when you hear the name Collingwood, the charming town situated along the southern shore of Georgian Bay is also home to Georgian Bowl, a 12 lane bowling centre that has been providing an exceptional experience to locals and tourists alike since 1963.
Interview conducted with Lee Hanley, co-owner of Georgian Bowl.
How long have you owned Georgian Bowl, and how did that come to be in the first place?
"Georgian Bowl has been a family run business since 1963, although it has operated under different names. Ray Hanley purchased the bowling centre in 1982, and his sons, Trevor and Aaron, along with myself, Lee (Trevor's wife), took over in 2008."
What have you found to be the most rewarding part of being a bowling centre operator?
"The most rewarding part of this job is watching kids learn to bowl and then be successful with it. Adults too! Many come in that have never bowled before; watching them win or bowl a personal best makes us very happy!"
Tell me about some of the funny things you've witnessed over the years at Georgian Bowl.
"Back in the 80s there were lots of shenanigans that took place, including streakers at a Christmas after-party!"
What is an interesting historical fact about Georgian Bowl?
"We've been fortunate enough to have had 4 bowlers qualify for the national finals of the Youth Bowl Canada Championships (formerly YBC 4-Steps to Stardom), dating all the way back to 1966! However, more recently we've had bowlers qualify for the national championships in 2014 and 2015, both of whom happen to be my own sons!"
Am I to assume your sons get their bowling prowess from you?
"Trevor is a great coach, so I'd say it comes from him. But, practice, practice, practice also helps!"
You have been a long-time supporter of the Youth Bowl Canada (YBC) program; what has motivated you to put such a focus into promoting youth bowling at your centre?
"Youth bowling is the grass roots. If you can teach kids how to bowl, they will carry that through adulthood and hopefully be a lifelong bowler. We've also recently started offering the 8 for 8 program that helps our youngest bowlers learn the sport in a fun way at a fraction of the time and cost."
Tell me about some of the people you've been able to meet since becoming a bowling centre operator.
"Living in a relatively small town allows us to really get to know our customers. We know our league bowlers by name and we participate right beside them. We value our regular bowlers and treat them extra special! We also have a high tourist population year-round, so we meet all kinds of great people."
What should someone who has never been to Georgian Bowl know about it?
"We offer more than just bowling. We also have outdoor mini-golf, a pool table, and arcade machines!"
5 Quick Questions:
Most popular food item on the menu: "Poutine"
The age of your youngest and oldest league bowler: "3 and 94"
Number of provincial titles your centre has won: "4"
What year did the bowling centre first open: "1963"
Georgian Bowl is located at 832 Hurontario Street, Collingwood, Ontario. Phone: 705-445-3871. Visit Georgian Bowl's website