Located in the flourishing Town of Oakville, Hopedale Bowl is a 16 lane bowling centre owned and operated by husband and wife duo, Ron & Linda Watson.
Interview conducted with Ron Watson, owner of Hopedale Bowl.
How long have you owned Hopedale Bowl, and how did that come to be in the first place?
"We purchased Hopedale Bowl in the fall of 2007. It is a long and complicated story that started with my 40th birthday being held here as a surprise party…and the rest is history."
What have you found to be the most rewarding part of being a bowling centre operator?
"I’d have to say that the most rewarding part of this adventure has been the time that we get to spend interacting with our Ontario Special Olympians, through the 2 leagues that we have each week and the various tournament events that we host."
If someone wanted to get involved in your Special Olympics program, how could they do so?
"Anyone interested in helping out with Special Olympics can contact the centre directly, and we’ll gladly put them in touch with the league organizers"
Hopedale Bowl has a number of extremely dedicated volunteers; to what do you credit this?
"Any organization is only as good as the people that make it work. For us, both our employees and the various league volunteers are critical to keeping the machine running smoothly. There is no way that we could do everything without their invaluable assistance, whether they are running a league, helping our YBC, or whatever else they might be involved in – their service is critical to our success."
Hopedale Bowl is the prototypical family business, with yourselves, as well as your children being extensively involved; how do you feel this has shaped your business?
"Being family owned and operated is important to us because we know that we succeed or fail based on what we do, not what any corporate head office tells us to do. When things are up, we take credit – and when they are down, we take the blame. I wouldn’t have it any other way."
Are there any interesting or funny historical facts about Hopedale Bowl?
"Hopedale Bowl is something of an ‘unofficial’ local landmark. I hadn’t realized how important it is to the local community, until our lease was nearing expiry, and it seemed for a short while that we might not get renewed. The outpouring of support from the community was heart-warming and made it all the more satisfying when we were able to get that new lease in place."
What do you think it is that makes bowling centres such as yours such an important piece of a community?
"Bowling centres that have been in one location as long as we have are special to the community because they become ‘multi-generational’. Adults remember their parents bringing them here when they were little, so they want to do the same thing with their kids. We’ve actually had young mothers book birthday parties for their kids and tell us that not only their parents, but their grandparents have had parties here. We have league bowlers that have been playing here upwards of 40 years and wouldn’t think to play anywhere else. It is just what they do. It is one of the keys to league bowlers – very few bowl in a league for just one year. Most start, and continue as long as they are able."
What should someone who has never been to Hopedale Bowl know about it?
"Hopedale Bowl is a great place to come out and enjoy a great game, at a reasonable price, in a safe and friendly environment."
5 Quick Questions:
Most popular food item on the menu: "Poutine"
Number of perfect games bowled at your centre: "To the best of our knowledge, 2, the last of which was in the late 60's. I've been told it happened once in the 70's, but have no way to confirm that."
The age of your youngest and oldest league bowler: "We have bowlers as young as 3, and multiple 94 year olds."
Number of provincial bowling titles your centre has won: "Multiple provincial titles for both adults and kids, as well as multiple national titles."
What year did the bowling centre first open: "Hopedale Bowl opened in the fall of 1959."
Hopedale Bowl is located at:
1515 Rebecca Street, Oakville, Ontario.
Phone #: 905-827-4281