Urbex: Exploration of an Abandoned Bowling Alley

After three quarters of a century in the Cambridge area of Waterloo Region, the pins fell for the last time at this bowling alley on May 7, 2017.  The longtime family business sold the land to a developer, who plans to build apartments.  

The developer ran into financial problems and the site has been untouched for 3+ years (the property was on the market for $4.25 million). It has sat abandoned since that time and is quite the disaster on the inside. 

We came across the site as a second location when the place we were hoping to scope out beside this was one was impenetrable – it was an old antiques/junk shop.  

Before we get into this explore, I’ll share some photos I located prior to its doors closing in 2017.

This isn’t my typical type of explore, I prefer abandoned farm houses, they tend to tell more of a story. This bowling alley has become home to those who have none and to intravenous drug users. This is by far the most derelict site I’ve explored to date.  So … I guess it does have a story after all.  

There’s only one way in and out. It’s been scavenged by scrappers looking for copper to sell for some coin.  It’s super dark inside, the only light is from the flashlight on our phones. It has a stench of wet carpet, urine and discarded rotting food.   

Toward the back corner, there’s a bed – it’s made and there’s some personal affects with it. We happened upon a gentleman who was using the space as his home. He’s had some family issues and said that no one in his family liked him much and wanted him to leave (sad). He says he does his best to to keep the place as “tidy” as he can, kicking away and throwing IV drug needles toward a pile that no one ventures into.

It is only mildly reminiscent of a bowling alley that was the at the height of its peak 10-15 years ago.  

Despite it being sooooo dark – and mostly decimated – we were able to take pics of a few items (including but not limited to) that identified it as bowling lanes:

  • League banners that once hung from the rafters
  • An old nacho machine
  • Bowling ball returns
  • Snack and Drink Bar Menu
  • The old stove – and a pot from the kitchen
  • TV Score Boards
  • The alley’s Mascot costume

Although a very different explore than my norm, it was still an interesting location. There’s history in every place we enter.

IF these walls could talk, I’m sure they’d speak to all the fun times kids had here for their birthday parties. The giddiness of first dates. Of bowling records being broken and personal bests being set. What about the tales of friendship, comradely and competition? The laughter of bowling a gutter ball or the fist pump of bowling a strike …

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