Bowling is back in Saanich — and on nearly the exact spot where the last alley was torn down 15 years ago.
Six lanes for 10-pin bowling are slated to open Monday as part of the Canadian Brewhouse pub and restaurant at Uptown Shopping Centre.
The lanes will be a feature of the 600-seat establishment on the second floor along Uptown Boulevard. It will also have a large rooftop patio and three batting cages.
Edmonton-based Canadian Brewhouse has 43 locations in Canada, including 26 in Alberta, catering to sports fans with large television screens as well as families with seatings for children from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Bowling fans saw the sport slip away in 2006, when the 10-pin Mayfair Lanes in Victoria near the Saanich border closed and the building was torn down. It remains an empty lot next to Mayfair shopping centre.
Town and Country Lanes was torn down in 2007 as the strip mall that also contained Victoria’s first Walmart was razed to make way for Uptown Shopping Centre.
Langford Lanes emerged to fill the 10-pin void in 2011, while Miracle Lanes, which offers five-pin bowling, is a long-standing facility in Sidney.
“It’s going to be a big draw and we’ve received a lot of positive response that bowling is coming back,” said Kristi Lowes, general manager of Uptown. “With Town and Country once being here, it’s very nostalgic for a lot of people.”
Canadian Brewhouse executives did not immediately return calls for comment, but Lowes confirmed the business will open on Monday.
Saanich council gave the restaurant unanimous approval in August 2019 and liquor licensing approvals followed.
Saanich Coun. Susan Brice said Thursday she is looking forward to lacing up her bowling shoes.
She bowled as a youth and was part of the bowling team at the University of Victoria “back in the day.”
“It’s going to be a great addition to Uptown and to Saanich,” Brice said. “It will be a good place to go with your family or with friends to have a meal and play some games and get some exercise.
“This really fits into Saanich in the long term and it really gives meaning to Uptown, where people can live, work and play.”
Lowes said the space has been vacant since Uptown Boulevard was completed more than a decade ago, and the new business will bring more vibrancy to the centre into the evening hours. Walmart is currently open until 11 p.m., and Brown’s Social House until midnight.
A report from Saanich staff in 2019 said community impact from extended hours is expected to be minimal. It said Uptown is a major centre, as designated in the Official Community Plan, and that can mean having “a more vibrant living environment” where there can be noise and activity typical of a downtown.
“The proposed facility would provide a new dining and recreational opportunity to enliven the shopping centre,” the report said.
The 12 Uptown businesses responding to the proposal had no objection to it, nor did the Mount View Colquitz Community Association.
— With files from Jeff Bell