Stayner Lawn Bowling Club keeps rolling after 100 years

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Stayner Lawn Bowling Club secretary Cheryl Costa says there are quite a few people who are unaware that there is a bowling green in town, even though it has been there for 100 years.

The green, tucked in off of Ontario Street, is located beside the railway track. The club came to be when a few local men negotiated the donation of a parcel of railway property to be transferred to the Town of Stayner for the purpose of constructing bowling rinks and a clubhouse.

Stayner Lawn Bowling Club is celebrating a century of activity and fellowship this month with an open house. Lawn bowling was a hugely popular sport and many small communities had greens, including Creemore, but as able bodied men were called to serve in the Second World War, many greens were closed.

Stayner was lucky to keep its green in operation and since inception the clubhouse and greens have been maintained and managed by a dedicated group of volunteers. Membership was at 53 last year and Costa says there is hope to get up over the 60-member mark this year, which would bring it back up to pre-pandemic levels. Although most of the members are seniors, as the sport is suitable for all ages and abilities, the Stayner club boasts an age rage from nine to 90+ years. The club is encouraging interest through youth programs and partnerships with the youth centre. The club holds jitneys, meaning there are no set teams or leagues. Some members come simply for the social interaction. Throughout the season, the club hosts member-only events, non-competitive “friendlies” with other clubs, and competitive tournaments for those who want a challenge.

The game’s origins can be traced back to ancient Egypt but was made popular in North America by the English and the Scots. Although named lawn bowling, the rules of play closer resemble curling than alley bowling.

Teams are led by a skip and participants roll their “bowls” toward a target ball called a jack. The bowls are not perfect spheres, they have a bias to help them curl.

Having successfully applied for funding, Stayner Lawn Bowling Club has a good selection of bowls in different sizes for newcomers to try.

The club receives funds from Clearview Township and Wasaga Beach. Costa explains that the club attracts quite a few Wasaga Beach residents, as well as a few bowlers from Collingwood and Barrie.

It is also the recipient of a substantial federal grant of $24,208 from the New Horizons for Seniors Program and members have been busy implementing all the improvements, including the installation of sun shades, and a new shed. Funding has also allowed the club to purchase equipment to make the sport more accessible to people of all mobility levels and abilities.

All that is needed to start learning the sport is a pair of flat soled shoes.

A gift of repurposed lights from the township parks department has allowed the club to extend games into the evenings so there is regular play from 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and daytime games from 10 a.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays. Anyone curious about the sport is welcome to drop by to the club, located at 205 Ontario St. New membership costs $150 and includes the Learn to Bowl program. Visit

The centennial celebration and open house is on Saturday, May 25 from 10 a.m. until 1 p.m. Everyone is welcome for cake and lawn bowling.

The club will also be fundraising during the town wide yard sale on Saturday, June 1, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

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