By Mary Beth Hartill Huntsville Forester

Thursday, August 23, 2012

BURK’S FALLS – A young couple are hoping to breath new life into a 50-year-old bowling alley.

Daniel Lawrence, 27, and wife Haleigh, 23, took over the Almaguin Bowl, located at the north end of the village, which has brought pleasure to bowlers young and old.

The couple has already begun to give the alley a new look with bold black and red colours and a 10-by-12-foot sign that reads ‘RIVERBOWL’ in all caps, and have begun to get a 15-year-old friend working on promotional items such as stickers and shirts.

“We want new everything to get a new feel in here and we eventually want to open it up to the river,” said Daniel. “We want to get a younger crowd in here. There’s not much in the town for the kids.”

He says he is hoping to begin after-school and weekend programs for the students.

“We want to liven it up with more young people,” he said. “We want to put a new flavour to it.”

The restaurant is currently closed and they are hoping it will be up and running by early September before the league bowling begins on Sept. 10.

The location will also continue to be a stop for the Ontario Northland bus.

Painting inside the bowling alley was completed in three days with the help of friends from the Church of Christ in Burk’s Falls.

The lanes are in the process of being refinished, which Daniel says will serve to enhance the glow ball.

“It’ll be improved with special paint that will feature our logo and starts running down the aisles,” he said.

When asked about the bowling alley purchase, Daniel replied, “I’ve always wanted to buy my own business and always wanted to support Burk’s Falls. I love Burk’s Falls.”

“Daniel can be very spontaneous. I wasn’t scared about it at all,” said Haleigh. “I trust him with it. He has a persistence that accomplishes things for us.”

For them it is a family affair, and over the next few years they are hoping to make some major changes that will modernize and expand the business, including replacing the computer systems with overhead monitors and 50-inch TV sets for sports enthusiasts, beer taps at the bar, and eventually a view of the river that runs along behind the building.

Daniel jokes that he has always dreamed of becoming the ‘unofficial mayor of Burk’s Falls’ or like Norm from the television show Cheers, where everybody knows his name.

But, in seriousness, Daniel says much of his decision was based on doing something for the village.

“It’s really about sprucing up Burk’s Falls because I don’t want it to die,” he said. “I believe in investing in Burk’s Falls and I encourage other businesses to do the same.”

Daniel says his father, Hubert, worked at the bowling alley during his late teen years in the mid to late ‘60s.

The couple is also hoping to bring cottagers away from the lake during the summer months, adding that they are planning to keep the bowling alley open during the summer.

There has never been a perfect game recorded in the history of the bowling alley. Burk’s Falls resident and former proprietor Peter Barr has come the closest with one pin away from that ever-elusive perfect game.

“I’m putting a challenge out to all those city folks who think they know how it’s done,” said Daniel. “The locals are the ones that are crazy good bowlers.”

However, even with the changes that have already taken place, Daniel is hoping to inject some history back into the building and is on the lookout for old photos relating to the bowling alley that he can display.

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RIVERBOWL 310 Ontario St. Burk’s Falls Ontario – P0A 1C0
(705) 783-9231