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Danforth & Coxwell

Danforth and Coxwell
Danforth Avenue at Coxwell.

On Danforth just west of Coxwell is a small five-pin bowling alley. Although five-pin alleys are still common in Toronto, this is one of the last without computerized scoring. More about Danforth Bowl below.

Diner near Coxwell station
Diner near the Coxwell subway station.

Danforth and Greenwood
Corner store at Danforth, east of Coxwell.

Typical two-storey stores on Danforth, east of Coxwell.

Our Visit to Danforth Bowl

Danforth Bowl score sheet
Our score sheet.

Recently, my mother-in-law and sister-in-law offered to babysit for us one evening, and so we took the opportunity to go out. After dinner at Sisters Restaurant, we decided to go bowling. For Sylvana, this was was her first time to a bowling alley in more than two years.

We drove to O'Connor Bowl, a 24 lane alley in the former East York. However, we were surprised to find an empty parking lot and a sign on the door saying they close at 6PM on Saturday during the summer. Granted, bowling isn't as popular as it once was, but really, isn't it unheard of that a bowling alley could be closed on a Saturday evening?

A bit discouraged, we drove on to the next nearest alley, the Danforth Bowl. I didn't mind this since I'd wanted to try it out for a while. What's so special about this alley? At one time, there were dozens of small bowling alleys in the old city of Toronto. But now most are gone. The Danforth Bowl is the last of its kind in Toronto.

When we arrived, the counter person was eager to close early after the current group of players finished, but he let us play anyways. We assured him we were only interested in playing three games, and so we expected to be done in an hour.

Danforth Bowl is a small alley, with just six lanes. The decor is reminiscent of a basement rec room from the 1950's. In fact, little seems to have changed in the past 40 years. The only concession to modernity was the early 1970's disco music playing. Late 1950's rock and roll would have been more appropriate. Even better would be 1940's big band jazz!

Bowling is a feast of sensations, and this alley is no exception. But the noises from these old pin-setting machines are different. Playing on these old, well-worn lanes is a more human experience than in the usual alleys with modern conveniences like automatic scoring. Danforth's lanes are old and quirky, yet organic and friendly. As a result, I bowled well above my modest average of 174.

Danforth Bowl is a "blast from the past" that's well worth a visit. For bowlers visiting Toronto, this is a must stop during your site-seeing, and a great introduction to 5-pin bowling. Just take the TTC subway to Coxwell station. Danforth Bowl is on the north side of Danforth Avenue, just to the west of Coxwell.